Jesmyn Ward / Sing, Unburied, Sing [in-conversation with Julia Scheeres]

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm


Booksmith is thrilled to have Jesmyn Ward in the store for her latest novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing. With her in conversation will be Julia Scheeres—join us!


Carrying the torch of Faulkner and As I Lay Dying, Sing, Unburied, Sing tells the emotional journey taken by Leonie, a single mother addicted to drugs, her son Jojo, 13, and his toddler sister, Kayla—who have been raised by their grandparents Pap, who tries to teach Jojo how to be a man, and Mam, who is sick with cancer—to Parchman Farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary where Jojo and Kayla’s white father is being released from prison. Ghosts and spirits hover over Ward’s narrative, which hums with ambition, complexity, heartache, rich visuals, and violence.


In Sing, Unburied, Sing, Ward shows us life on the gulf coast of Mississippi—lush and menacing and marked by a precise rural vernacular—and life within a family weighted by history and poverty but bonded by love. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, it is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature by a writer at the top of her game.




“Read Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing and you’ll feel the immense weight of history—and the immense strength it takes to persevere in the face of it. This novel is a searing, urgent read for anyone who thinks the shadows of slavery and Jim Crow have passed, and anyone who assumes the ghosts of the past are easy to placate. It’s hard to imagine a more necessary book for this political era.” — Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You



Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University. She is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award. She is also the editor of the anthology The Fire This Time and the author of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. From 2008-2010, Ward had a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. She was the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi for the 2010-2011 academic year. In 2016, the American Academy of Arts and Letters selected Ward for the Strauss Living Award. She lives in Mississippi.



RSVP is appreciated, but not required. If you cannot attend the event, but would like a signed copy of Sing, Unburied, Sing or any of the other works, order below and fill out the special request field.



Staff Pick Logo
Sing, Unburied, Sing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501126062
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - September 5th, 2017

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501126352
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - June 20th, 2017

Salvage the Bones Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608196265
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - April 24th, 2012

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416596400
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Free Press - November 13th, 2012

Jesus Land: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781619020658
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - October 30th, 2012