National Book Award winner to teach creative writing at Tulane

April 16, 2014

Barri Bronston
Phone: 504-352-2534

Acclaimed author Jesmyn Ward, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for her novel Salvage the Bones, will join the Tulane University Department of English on July 1.

Ward, now an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama, has been named to the first Paul and Debra Gibbons Professorship. In her new position, she also will work closely with the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South and the Newcomb College Institute.

A native of DeLisle, Miss., about an hour from New Orleans, Ward said she is thrilled to join the Tulane family.

“I grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Tulane has a great reputation,” she said. “It’s known as a serious institution of learning with deep roots in the region.”

Ward is the author of three books, including Where the Line Bleeds, published in 2009, and Men We Reaped, a memoir released in 2013.

Her 2011 book, Salvage the Bones, follows a family in coastal Mississippi, in a fictional town based on DeLisle, during the 10 days preceding Hurricane Katrina and immediately following the storm. In a New York Times review, Tayari Jones wrote, “Jesmyn Ward…chronicles our American story in language that is raw, beautiful and dangerous.”

Ward received her undergraduate degree in English and a master’s degree in media studies and communication from Stanford University. She has been teaching writing for 10 years at the University of Michigan, the University of New Orleans, Stanford, the University of Mississippi and the University of South Alabama.

“I love teaching,” she said. “I love reading and writing and talking about reading and writing with students. I love working with student writers to help them revise and polish and transform their work, and I love watching students find their voices. It really is very rewarding work.”


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000