Jesmyn Ward's Essential New Books from African American Writers

Posted by Cybil on February 5, 2018
Black History Month coverage is sponsored by One World Books.

Jesmyn Ward is the author of Sing, Unburied, Sing, which won the 2017 National Book Award for fiction, as well as Salvage the Bones and Men We Reaped. In addition, she edited The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race. Here Ward recommends new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction from African American writers.



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I count myself lucky to be alive and writing: It is an honor to join the chorus of African American writers at work.

Each writer on this list adds essential words to the conversation we're having about what it means to live and love and find joy and suffer grief in America right now. Every book we write broadens everyone's ideas about who we can be and what we are capable of. Here you will find worlds and people who will surprise you, anger you, bring you deep melancholy and sublime happiness. Each of the writers will subvert your ideas about humanity, America, and yourself.

You'll have to preorder a few of these, but they are worth the wait. Read and rejoice.



Ward's Fiction Recommendations:
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Ward's Poetry Recommendations:
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Ward's Nonfiction Recommendations:
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Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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message 1: by Robert (last edited Feb 05, 2018 04:32PM) (new)

Robert Haile Thank you. I'm presently enjoying The Hate U Give and feel that my lessons from it are experiential more than just ideas. I will explore A Kind Of Freedom next.


message 2: by Lillian (new)

Lillian The unselfish love of JoJo for his little sister touched me profoundly. Sing, Unburied, Sing is a book that I will never forget. Ms. Ward’s expresses great love in all her writing.


message 3: by Meagan (new)

Meagan Thank you! I am anxious and excited to read Sing, Unburied, Sing with my students later this month.


message 4: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Smyth Thank you. I enjoyed Sing, Unburied, Sing. These are some great recommendations.


Enchanted Prose I thought the novel was one of the most powerful I've read and reviewed. Ward's prose is stunning. A memoir that feels similar theme-wise is BLACK LIVES MATTER by the co-founder of the movement, Patrisse Cullors. Thanks for this list. Lorraine


message 6: by Terna (new)

Terna Thank you for this list. I look forward to reading the works. And thank you for your stunning work in your latest novel (I loved Salvage the Bones as well). I was moved down to the marrow.


message 7: by Francescajemm (new)

Francescajemm Great work here.


message 8: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Wolfe Thank you. I’m curious if you have any picture books you would recommend?


message 9: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Listening to Sing, Unburied, Sing right now.


message 10: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Thank you for the tips, Ms Ward. I love Salvage the Bones, Men We Reaped, and fully hooked by now, Sing, Unburied, Sing.


message 11: by Labiba (new)

Labiba Khan I found Sing, Unburied, Sing from a list of books to read and it was an exceptional read. The visuals I had from reading it were haunting and it made me step outside of my comfort zone - and for that, I am grateful.


message 12: by Ijeoma (new)

Ijeoma I am touched by some of the comments I read above and I cannot wait to start reading some of the books on this list. I love books that challenge my views, take me out of my comfort zone and leave me enlightened, excited to share my new knowledge with others.


message 13: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Lillian wrote: "The unselfish love of JoJo for his little sister touched me profoundly. Sing, Unburied, Sing is a book that I will never forget. Ms. Ward’s expresses great love in all her writing."

I agree totally. He expressed unconditional love so well.


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