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In 2011, Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award for Salvage the Bones, and last year, she became the first woman to ever win twice. This time it was for Sing, Unburied, Sing, an American epic that earned her comparisons to William Faulkner and Toni Morrison. As Leonie, a mother struggling with drug abuse, drives with her children to bring her husband home from Parchman Farm, Mississippi’s state penitentiary, she and her thirteen-year-old son Jojo are visited by two ghosts. While Leonie waits for visits from her dead brother, Jojo hears from a boy his own age, the ghost of a dead Parchman inmate who carries all the ugly history of the South with him in death.

Ward is in conversation with Aminatta Forna, Lannan Visiting Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University and author of five books, including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize-winning The Memory of Love and, most recently, Happiness.

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