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Common Read 2021: The Fire This Time

A guide to provide context and support for Mt. Holyoke's 2021 Common Read

Biography and website

Jesmyn Ward

National Book Award Winner - Essayist - Memoirist - Professor of Creative Writing, Tulane University.

Photograph of Jesmyn Ward by Beowulf Sheehan

Books written by Jesmyn Ward


  • 2021  Finalist, National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism, "Witness and Respair"Vanity Fair
  • 2019  Mark Twain American Voice In Literature Award
  • 2017  National Book Award, Sing Unburied, Sing
  • 2017  MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant
  • 2017  Finalist, Kirkus Prize, Sing, Unburied, Sing
  • 2016  Strauss Living Award, American Academy of Arts & Letters
  • 2014  Heartland Prize, Nonfiction, Men We Reaped
  • 2014  Finalist, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Men We Reaped
  • 2013  Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award, Autobiography, Men We Reaped
  • 2012  Alex Award, American Library Association Award for Young Adult Readers, Salvage the Bones
  • 2011  National Book Award, Salvage the Bones
  • 2009  Black Caucus of the National Book Awards, Where the Line Bleeds
  • 2009  Finalist, Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award, Where the Line Bleeds
  • 2009  Finalist, Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Where the Line Bleeds
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