Jesmyn Ward is following up her National Book Award-winning novel "Sing, Unburied, Sing" with two new books, including a title for older children.
Ward became the first woman to receive the US National Book Award twice after accepting the honor for her 2017 novel "Sing, Unburied, Sing," a road novel set in modern-day rural Mississippi and revolving around the family life of a 13-year-old boy whose father has just been released from prison. She previously took the award in 2011 for "Salvage the Bones."
Ward's US publisher Scribner has now revealed she has two books in the works, the first a novel for adults that is set in New Orleans during the height of the domestic slave trade. The story will center on an enslaved woman who is sent sent south from the Carolinas to New Orleans, home of the country's largest slave market.
After that novel is published, a second will follow, this one a middle-grade novel, for ages 8-12, that is described as "a magical adventure with a black Southern female protagonist who possesses special powers."
Ward said of the deal, "Even though I read voraciously as a child, I never saw myself in books. Without narratives to expand my ideas of who I could be, I accepted the stories others told me about myself, stories which diminished and belittled me and people like me. I want to write against that. I've wanted to write a middle grade/YA book for years, a book that might reach the child I once was and expand that child's sense of self."
Publication dates have yet be determined for the two titles.