Hailed as “the new Toni Morrison” by the American Booksellers Association, Jesmyn will discuss her life, her literary vision and her unique perspectives on love and loss. Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of American Library Association, will join her in conversation.
Jesmyn Ward is the critically acclaimed author of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, including bestselling Sing, Unburied, Sing, Salvage the Bones, and the memoir Men We Reaped. Her many honors include the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, a MacArthur Genius Grant, and a Strauss Living Award. In 2017, she became the first woman and first person of color to win the National Book Award for Fiction twice. The standout writer of her generation, Ward’s stories are largely set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where she grew up and still lives. A professor of creative writing at Tulane University, Ward’s latest book, Navigate Your Stars, is an adaptation of her 2018 commencement address at Tulane that championed the value of hard work. She has a new novel Let Us Descend, which will be published this fall. Place a library hold on Let Us Descend, Jesmyn Ward's upcoming novel (published October 2023).
Tracie D. Hall is an American librarian, author, curator, and advocate for the arts. She is the first African American woman to lead the American Library Association, where she's served as Executive Director since 2020, and fights for social justice, access to information, and universal broadband. TIME has named Tracie D. Hall to the 2023 TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
This event is made possible by Illinois Libraries Present, a statewide collaboration among public libraries offering premier events. ILP is funded in part by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a department of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).