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Author Jesmyn Ward to Speak at CBU, Along with Month-long Memphis Reads Programming

MEMPHIS— Memphis Reads, the citywide community reading program sponsored by Christian Brothers University (CBU), the Memphis Public Library and Information Center, and numerous other partners throughout the City, will host author Jesmyn Ward at CBU on Wednesday, September 28.

Ward is the author of Salvage the Bones, a novel that explicates themes of family, survival, and belonging in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Ward will speak at the University Theater on the CBU campus at 6:00 p.m., immediately followed by a book signing.

In her talks, Ward shares her writing process and how her experiences growing up poor and black in the South continue to influence her work. As Ward said in her acceptance speech at the National Book Awards, “I understood that I wanted to write about the experiences of the poor, and the black and the rural people of the South, so that the culture that marginalized us for so long would see that our stories were as universal, our lives as fraught and lovely and important, as theirs.”

Earlier this year, Ward won the Strauss Living award, given every five years by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for literary excellence. The prize of $200,000 will allow Ward to devote two years to writing in lieu of her work as a teacher at Tulane University. She is currently at work on a new novel.

The Memphis Reads program, now in its third year, is an outgrowth of CBU’s Fresh Reads initiative, which requires all incoming first-year students to read a required text and write a reflective essay before they arrive on campus. Throughout the month of September, local partners will also host various events throughout the city aimed at enriching the conversations related to poverty, tragedy, and other themes evident in Salvage the Bones. You can find a list of the official 2016 Memphis Reads events below, or visit memphisreadsbook.org/events.

“Purchased Lives: New Orleans and the Domestic Slave Trade, 1808-1865” at the National Civil Rights Museum (State of Tennessee Gallery)
, September 12 through mid-November (Free with museum admission; Tennessee residents may enter free of charge on Mondays after 3 p.m.) Event Info HERE

Screening of Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke (Parts 1-2) at the University of Memphis (304 University Center, Bluff Room) on 
Thursday, September 15 with a 
5:30 p.m. reception, film screening at 6:00 p.m. (Free and open to the public) Event Info HERE

Screening of Beasts of the Southern Wild at the 
Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue, meeting room C) on Monday, September 19 with a 5:30 p.m. reception, film screening at 6:00 p.m. (Free and open to the public) Event Info HERE

Panel Discussion: “My Whole City Underwater – Race, Trauma, and Surviving Katrina” at the University of Memphis (342 University Center, Shelby Room) on Thursday, September 22, with a 5:30 p.m. reception, discussion at 6:00 p.m. (Free and open to the public) Event Info HERE

Jesmyn Ward Talk and Book Signing at Christian Brothers University (650 East Parkway South, University Theater) on Wednesday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. (Free and open to the public) Event Info HERE

Q & A with Jesmyn Ward and Book Signing at Rhodes College (2000 North Parkway, Bryan Campus Life Center) on Thursday, September 29 at 6:00 p.m. (Free and open to the public) Event Info HERE

Great Conversations with Rhodes Professor Ernest Gibson at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue, Memphis Room, 4th FL) on Thursday, October 4 at 5:30 p.m. (Free and open to the public) Event Info HERE


For more information on Memphis Reads and the appearances by Jesmyn Ward, please contact Karen B. Golightly at (901) 321-4483 or kgolight@cbu.edu. Further updates will also be posted on the official Memphis Reads website at memphisreadsbook.org and at www.facebook.com/MemphisReads.

Posted by Joshua Colfer at 5:09 PM