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Tulane Professor Jesmyn Ward to Lecture in Race and Justice Series at W&L

Jesmyn Ward, the Paul and Debra Gibbons Professor of Creative Writing at Tulane University, will give a public talk at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 4:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Center.

The title of Ward’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, is “Men We Reaped.”

Her talk is part of the 2014-2015: Race and Justice in America and is sponsored by W&L’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics. For more information about this series, please go to: www.wlu.edu/mudd-center.

Ward’s latest book, “Men We Reaped” (2013), is a memoir that confronts the five years of Ward’s life in which five young men were lost to her—due to drugs, accidents, suicide and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men.

Besides her latest book, Ward is the author of two other books, “Where the Line Bleeds” (2008) and “Salvage the Bones: A Novel” (2011).

Called a “modern rejoinder to ‘Black Like Me’ ‘Beloved,'” says Kirkus Reviews, “Men We Reaped” is a beautiful and painful homage to her past, her ghosts and the haunted yet hopeful place she still calls home. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography and has been named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and NPR, among others.

Ward’s novel “Salvage the Bones” won the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction and was honored with the American Library Association’s Alex Award and has been called “fearless and toughly lyrical” by The Library Journal. Her portrayals of young black men and women struggling to thrive in a poverty-ravaged South during the time of natural disasters have been praised for their “graphic clarity” by The Boston Globe and “hugeness of heart” by O: The Oprah Magazine.

Ward received her Ph.D. at Stanford and her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Michigan. She won five Hopwood Awards at Michigan for her fiction, essays and drama. She held a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University from 2008-2010, and served as the Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi the following year.

Ward received the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award for “Where the Line Bleeds,” which was also a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and an Essence magazine Book Club Selection. It was also honored by the Black Caucus of the National Book Award.