Two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward will follow up her NBA-winning novel Sing, Unburied, Sing, with two new books, to be published by Scribner and Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
The as-yet-untitled adult novel, Simon & Schuster said, will take place at the peak of the American slave trade, and follows an enslaved woman sent south from the Carolinas to New Orleans, site of the country’s largest slave market. A middle-grade novel, billed as "a magical adventure with a black Southern female protagonist who possesses special powers," will follow from Dlouhy, although no publication date has been set for either work."
"I’m so pleased I’ve found a home with Scribner, and I’m even more delighted that I’m growing into that home as I have the opportunity to work on two more books here," Ward said in a statement. "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."
Kathy Belden for Scribner and Caitlyn Dlouhy for Caitlyn Dlouhy Books acquired world English, serial, and audio rights for the adult novel and the middle-grade novel, respectively, from Rob McQuilkin of Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents.
“Jesmyn Ward is a true artist, possessed of great talent, hard work, and imagination. Editing her books over several years, it has been amazing to watch her push herself and evolve, taking on new challenges every time,” Scribner executive editor Kathy Belden, Ward's longtime editor, said in a statement.
In addition to Sing, Unburied, Sing, Ward is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award. She is also the editor of the anthology The Fire This Time and the author of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has received Stegner and MacArthur fellowships, in addition to a handful of other awards, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Strauss Living Award.