Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward lives in DeLisle, Mississippi, a town of about a thousand people on the Gulf Coast, where she was born in 1977. The town—which inspired Bois Sauvage, the setting for Ward’s fiction—was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Ward witnessed it firsthand. “I looked down at my feet,” she later told PBS, “and the water was filling up my footprints as I’m walking along on this carpet.” Two of her novels, Salvage the Bones and Sing Unburied Sing, have won National Book Awards, making her the first woman to win more than one.

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