- Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017)
- Men We Reaped (2013) ( a memoir)
- Salvage the Bones (2011 National Book Award winner for fiction)
- Where the Line Bleeds (2009)
- On Witness and Respair: A Personal Tragedy Followed by Pandemic (2020)
- Navigate Your Stars (2018)
- The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, Editor (2016)
Jesmyn Ward was born in 1977 in DeLisle, Mississippi. Her mother’s employer paid for her to attend a private school after she was bullied by black students at a public school. She earned a BA at Stanford University in 1999 and a Master’s degree in 2000. Ward earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in 2005.
Her first book Where the Line Bleeds was written to remember her younger brother, who was killed by a drunk driver. She was the winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2012 Alex Award for her second novel Salvage the Bones.
She currently teaches at Tulane University, but previously was an assistant professor of Creative Writing at the University of South Alabama. She had a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University (2010 to 2011) and a John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi for 2014.
She is the recipient of Tulane’s Paul and Debra Gibbons Professorship and also works closely with the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South and the Newcomb College Institute.
In 2017, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Genius grant. She has now won the National Book Award twice. Ward’s novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, was awarded a National Book Award for fiction in November of 2017. Her book Navigate Your Stars is based on her life.
In January, 2020, Ward’s 33-year- old husband died of the coronavirus. Her article in Vanity Fair in September, 2020, expresses her heartbreak.
- 2021 Mississippi Governor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Literature
- 2017 – National Book Award for Sing, Unburied, Sing
- 2011 – National Book Award for Salvage the Bones
- Ward’s 33 year old husband died of covid 19 in January, 2020. She wrote this article for Vanity Fair. The essay has an audio which reads the heartbreaking article.
- Ward’s faculty page at Tulane University.
- Speech at Tulane University graduation in 2018.
- Interview with Jesmyn Ward. NPR, 2013
- Excerpt from the book Men We Reaped
- Jesmyn Ward’s Twitter Page
- Jesmyn Ward’s blog
- Jesmyn Ward talks about racism, family, and the brave memoir that healed her. The Times-Picayune, 2013
- Q&A with Jesmyn Ward, author of Men We Reaped: On Connectivity and Consequence (2013). Biographile.com