Two-Time National Book Award Winner Jesmyn Ward to Publish New Novel With Scribner and Young Adult Novel with Atheneum

NEW YORK, February 7 —Following her historic acceptance of the National Book Award for her critically-acclaimed New York Times bestselling novel Sing, Unburied, Sing, the first woman to receive the prestigious literary award twice in the fiction category, MacArthur fellow Jesmyn Ward will publish her next two books with her publisher Scribner and Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

The yet-to-be-titled adult novel will be set in New Orleans during the height of the domestic slave trade, and centers on an enslaved woman sent south from the Carolinas to New Orleans, site of the country’s largest slave market. Following the publication of this novel at Scribner, the middle grade novel will be a magical adventure with a black Southern female protagonist who possesses special powers. Publication dates for both works have not yet been determined.

“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. My relationship with my editor, Kathy Belden, is very important to my growth as a writer, and I’m so fortunate to work with her and all the fantastic folks at Simon & Schuster who help me bring my stories to readers,” said Jesmyn Ward. “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.”

“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,” said Ward’s longtime editor, Scribner Executive Editor Kathy Belden. “I can’t wait to see how she handles history, and I’m sure her many fans will be thrilled to journey with her to a new time and place.”

“Jesmyn Ward is one of the most vital and important writers at work today. Her extraordinary voice, witness, and imagination draw from her readers a profound compassion for lives—tragic, flawed, and rich with love—that we might otherwise never know. We are thrilled and honored to publish her at Scribner,” said Nan Graham, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Scribner.

“Middle grade and teen readers are the ones most aching for raw, honest, fiercely beautiful stories, stories in which they recognize themselves, or their histories, or, conversely, need that lens, that window, to others not as similar to themselves.  To know that Jesmyn Ward is sharing her remarkable talent with this age group is a gift to us all,” said Caitlyn Dlouhy, Vice President and Editorial Director, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum.

Jesmyn Ward is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award, and Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner, 2017) which won the 2017 National Book Award and which will be published in paperback on May 8, 2018. She is also the editor of the anthology The Fire This Time (Scribner, 2016) and the author of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. From 2008-2010, Ward had a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. She was the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi for the 2010-2011 academic year. In 2016, the American Academy of Arts and Letters selected Ward for the Strauss Living Award. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2017. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan and is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University. She lives in Mississippi.

Kathy Belden for Scribner and Caitlyn Dlouhy for Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum acquired World English, serial, and audio rights for the adult novel and the middle grade novel, with Rob McQuilkin of Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents brokering the two-book deal.

Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS Corporation, is a global leader in general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages, and in all printed, digital and audio formats. Its distinguished roster of authors includes many of the world’s most popular and widely recognized writers, and winners of the most prestigious literary honors and awards. It is home to numerous well-known imprints and divisions such as Simon & Schuster, Scribner, Atria Books, Gallery Books, Pocket Books, Touchstone, Adams Media, Threshold Editions, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and Simon & Schuster Audio and international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom, and proudly brings the works of its authors to readers in more than 200 countries and territories. For more information visit our website at

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Contacts: Kate Lloyd
Deputy Director of Publicity, Scribner
(212) 632-4951 /

Lisa Moraleda
Director of Publicity, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
(212) 698-7087 /