Williams Read Features Jesmyn Ward

Photo of Jesmyn Ward speaking in Chapin Hall.

Jesmyn Ward; Photo by Brad Wakoff

MacArthur Fellow and two-time National  Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, whose Sing, Unburied, Sing is this year’s Williams
Reads selection, visited campus on Oct. 11  for a talk and book signing.

Ward told a rapt audience in Chapin Hall how she was an avid reader as a child, gravitating to stories of “girls who triumphed” while at the same time coming to realize that “the world was uneven.” Her experiences of racism, sexism, income inequality and injustice inform her fiction, she said, and, because of her “narrative ruthlessness,” her characters face both horrors and hope. “I have to believe that speaking will bring change, or else I’ll be silenced,” Ward said.

Her talk was just one event in a year’s worth of programming around the book. Williams Reads fosters connections among members of the campus community by exploring diversity through a common reading experience. Learn more at sites.williams.edu/williams-reads.