Novelist and former Ole Miss instructor Jesmyn Ward was recently profiled in a Los Angeles Times article titled, "Jesmyn Ward ('Salvage the Bones') writes of Mississippi." The piece concentrates on her struggle for literary success, which she achieved in 2011 by winning the National Book Award for fiction.
Ward's award-winning book, "Salvage the Bones," tells the story of a "poor African American family whose rural Mississippi home stands in the path of Hurricane Katrina." She is now working on her next book, tentatively titled "The Men We Reaped," which is a memoir of the deaths of five young black men in DeLisle, Miss., her hometown. The book was inspired by the tragic death of her younger brother, who was killed by a drunk driver.
In regards to using her Mississippi hometown as the setting in both books, Ward said, "People ask me about staying here. I think they assume that I wouldn't want to come back to a place like Mississippi, which is so backward and which frustrates me a lot. The responsibility that I feel to tell these stories about the people and the place that I'm from is what pulls me back."
Ward was Ole Miss’ Grisham Writer in Residence during the 2010-2011 school year while also teaching fiction writing. She is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama.
To read the full L.A. Times profile of Ward, click here.