Key Note Speaker Jesmyn Ward

Key Note Speaker Jesmyn Ward

JESMYN WARD—MacArthur Genius and two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward has been called “the new Toni Morrison” (American Booksellers Association). In 2017, she became the first woman and first person of color to win the National Book Award twice—joining the ranks of William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, John Cheever, Philip Roth, and John Updike. Her writing, which encompasses fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, is “raw, beautiful and dangerous” (The New York Times Book Review). Ward’s novels, primarily set on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, are deeply informed by the trauma of Hurricane Katrina. Salvage the Bones, winner of the 2011 National Book Award, is a troubling but ultimately empowering tale of familial bonds set amid the chaos of the hurricane. Ward’s memoir, Men We Reaped, deals with the loss of five young men in her life—to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that follows people who live in poverty. In 2016, Ward edited the critically acclaimed anthology The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, a New York Times bestseller. Her newest novel, the critically acclaimed Sing, Unburied, Sing, won the 2017 National Book Award. Sing has been called “a searing, urgent read for anyone who thinks the shadows of slavery and Jim Crow have passed” (Celeste Ng). Sing was named one of the best books of 2017 by The New York Times, TimeThe Washington Post, and Publisher's Weekly. Sing was also nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. An associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University, Ward received the 2016 Strauss Living Award and a 2017 MacArthur Genius Grant, and was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people of 2018. She is the winner of the 2019 American Voice In Literature Award. Scribner recently reissued her debut novel, Where The Line Bleeds.

Authors and Artists of the Exchange


Full Program of Events

November 22 & 23, 2019


Friday, November 22  

12:00 p.m. – Registration opens at Hancock Performing Arts Center

Visual Arts Sessions – Lazy Magnolia

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. - Sarah Hewes, illustrator;
Michael Hewes, author/The Tempestuous Trial of Mabelline Meriweather

2:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Book illustration workshop –
Micky Arnold / John Albert / Steve Barney

Literary Pitch Sessions
Hancock Performing Arts Center

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. - Dr. J. Bruce Fuller / Texas Review Press; Joe Lee / Dogwood Press

7:00 p.m. – Literary / Visual Arts Performances – Hancock Performing Arts Center - FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Saturday, November 23 – Writers Sessions

8:00 – 9:30 a.m. – Registration and Light Refreshments

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. - Opening / Welcome –
Nel Ducomb / Hancock County Library System

10:00 – 11:30 a.m.Fiction and The Editing Process – Johnnie Bernhard

11:30 – 12:00 p.m. – Book Signing (in lobby)

12:00 – 12:45 p.m. – Lunch (included with registration)

1:00 – 1:45 p.m. – Margaret McMullan – Memoir Writing/Where the Angels Lived

1:45 – 2:15 p.m. – Book Signing (in lobby) and Break

2:15 – 3:30 p.m. – Ellis Anderson, Panel moderator: Writing About What You Know - Rheta Grimsley Johnson and Michael Hewes                   

3:30 -4:00 p.m. – Wrap up, followed by Book Signing (in lobby)

7:00 p.m. - Jesmyn Ward lecture, book reading, Q&A; book signing in lobby - FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Book sales available from Bay Books & Pass Christian Books in lobby both days!


This event is made possible by funding from the Library Foundation of Hancock County



Thanks to our sponsors!