Sing, Unburied, Sing: Jesmyn Ward talks about her latest novel, winner of the National Book Award 2017, at Waterstones on 23 April 2018.

Jesmyn Ward

This blog provides links to background material for this event.

Reviews of Sing, Unburied, Sing

The Irish Times: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward review: Deep darkness in the Deep South – Eoin McNamee 20 January 2018

Ward has to deal with the festering cache of Black American history, to look at historic and present hurt, and to look past it at the same time. She does it brilliantly.

The Guardian: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward review – slow apocalypse of black America – Sukhdev Sandhu 24 November 2017

… Sing, Unburied, Sing is a brooding, pained meditation on the proposition, spelled out by Colson Whitehead in The Underground Railroad, that “America is a ghost in the darkness”.

The Atlantic: Jesmyn Ward’s Eerie, Powerful Unearthing of History – Adrienne Green 28 September 2017

Throughout, there’s no escaping Ward’s political rendering of American history. She uses a haunting, magical-realist style to masterfully warp two of life’s most inflexible realities: time and death. Her book seems to ask whether a family or a nation can atone for inequities that remain well and alive.

New York Times: In ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing,’ a Haunted Road Trip to Prison – Tracy K Smith 22 September 2017

“Sing, Unburied, Sing” is many things: a road novel, a slender epic of three generations and the ghosts that haunt them, and a portrait of what ordinary folk in dire circumstances cleave to as well as what they — and perhaps we all — are trying to outrun.

The Washington Post: Jesmyn Ward’s powerful new novel, ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’ – Ron Charles 29 August 2017

The simile-drenched lines that sometimes overwhelmed Ward’s previous novel have been brought under the control here of more plausible voices. And the plight of this one family is now tied to intersecting crimes and failings that stretch over decades.

Interviews with Jesmyn Ward

PBS: Jesmyn Ward answers your questions about ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing – 31 January 2018

… I have struggled with racism and I guess been the object of racist bullying, especially when I was younger. And so — and I think that my awareness of racism definitely informs my work and informs what my characters go through and what they struggle with.

The Guardian: Jesmyn Ward: ‘So much of life is pain and sorrow and wilful ignorance’ – Vanessa Thorpe 12 November 2017

I celebrate my blackness. I love the artistic vibrancy of the culture I was born to. I’m proud of the fact that the people of the African diaspora fight to survive, to thrive, all over the world, so of course my work reflects this pride, this investment in telling our stories. And I don’t find that problematic.

Article by Jesmyn Ward

The Guardian: Raising a black son in the US: ‘He had never taken a breath, and I was already mourning him’ – 20 October 2017

Today, the weight of the past bears heavily on the present. So now, black boys and girls are disciplined more than their white schoolmates. They are suspected of drug dealing and strip-searched. If they fight each other or talk back to teachers in school, school officials press charges and call the police.