Jesmyn Ward Archive
For Ocean Vuong, Jesmyn Ward, and Jaquira Diaz, reading and writing became necessities early on when their classrooms, families, and streets confined them, left them feeling othered and uncertain of their identities.
In contemporary memoir, like works by Kiese Laymon and Jesmyn Ward, the ghosts that haunt the narrators are past selves, dead loved ones, or other traumas that manifest in these writers’ lives.
Like Faulkner, Jesmyn Ward sets all her novels in a town loosely based on her own hometown in Mississippi, mapping a terrain that holds the various human experiences within its topographical confines.
Literary fiction in 2017 expounded on the gritty realities that the Trump Administration obscures. Socially relevant fiction this year resonated with readers hungry for truth.
As a teenager, I suffered long bouts of gazing into the mirror. Time fell away and I went into a kind of deliberate stupor. I thought if I stared long enough, I might forget who I was looking at, and—for a moment—see myself as others saw me.
History overlaps with, influences, and outright intrudes on the present, and in Ward’s fictional world that happens metaphorically, mentally, and then literally through visions and ghosts.
Jesmyn Ward introduces The Fire This Time, an anthology of essays and poems of witness and dissent, by expressing her own commingled dismay and hope regarding race relations in America. This book, she says, gathers “the great thinkers and extraordinary voices” of her generation to consider racism, both subtle
I don’t know about you, but when I write my rough drafts, I’m staggering around in the dark. There are plot holes, dropped story lines, and unanswered questions—all the good, gnarly stuff that goes into the early part of the writing process. The key for us writers is—when the