Novelist Jesmyn Ward to deliver Carleton convocation
In her presentation, she will discuss her experiences growing up poor and Black in the South and how her background continues to influence her work.
Jesmyn Ward, novelist and professor of English at Tulane University, will deliver Carleton College’s convocation address on Friday, April 22, from 10:50-11:50 a.m. in Skinner Chapel. In her presentation, she will discuss her experiences growing up poor and Black in the South and how her background continues to influence her work.
Jesmyn Ward has been called the “new Tori Morrison” and a standout writer of her generation. Her works include 2011 National Book Award for Fiction winner “Salvage the Bones” and 2017 National Book Award for Fiction winner “Sing, Unburied, Sing.” Her latest novel is 2020’s “Navigate Your Stars.” She is the first woman and the first person of color to win two National Book Awards for Fiction. In 2017, she was the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Ward is currently a professor of creative writing at Tulane University, where she holds the Andrew W. Mellon Professorship in the Humanities.
Ward’s stories are largely set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where she grew up and still lives. Her childhood as a poor, Black girl in the South affects her writing to this day. As she said in her acceptance speech at the 2011 National Book Awards, “I understood that I wanted to write about the experiences of the poor, and the Black and the rural people of the South, so that the culture that marginalized us for so long would see that our stories were as universal, our lives as fraught and lovely and important, as theirs.”
Ward received her B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University, and her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan.
Carleton convocations are free and open to the public. Masks are required, and visitors are expected to be fully vaccinated and boosted (if eligible) or to have received a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 24 hours before attending an event. Find upcoming events and archived recordings on the Convocations website. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-5461.