75 pages 2 hours read

Jesmyn Ward

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2017

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Teacher Introduction

Sing, Unburied, Sing

  • Genre: Fiction; literary fiction
  • Originally Published: 2017
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 840L; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: 15 chapters; approx. 320 pages; approx. 8 hours, 22 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Thirteen-year-old Jojo learns what it means to be a man on a road trip with his mother to Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary where his white father has been released. At Parchman, the ghost of a thirteen-year-old inmate teaches Jojo about fathers and sons, legacies, violence, and love.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Racism; fatmisia; sexual assault; lynching; police brutality; drug use, abuse, and overdose; abusive/neglectful parenting; imprisonment; prison abuse; poverty; death by cancer

Jesmyn Ward, Author

  • Bio: born April 1977; American novelist and Professor of English at Tulane University; first in her family to attend college; earned a BA in English and an MA in Media Studies from Stanford University; younger brother killed by a drunk driver in 2000; MFA in Creative Writing from University of Michigan; she and her family were victims of Hurricane Katrina, when their home in DeLisle, Mississippi flooded; unable to write creatively for 3 years afterward; decided to give up writing and enroll in a nursing program when her first book, Where the Line Bleeds (2008), was accepted for publication; two-time winner of the National Book Award for Fiction (2011 and 2017); only woman and only Black person to win the National Book Award twice; youngest person to receive the US Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
  • Other Works: Where the Line Bleeds (2008); Salvage the Bones (2011); Men We Reaped (2013); The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race (2016); Navigate Your Stars (2020)
  • Awards: National Book Award for Fiction Winner (2017); Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Winner (2018); Time Magazine Best Novel of the Year (2017); New York Times Top 10 (2017); Kirkus Prize Finalist (2017); National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist (2017); Andrew Carnegie Medal Finalist (2018); Aspen Words Literary Prize Finalist (2018)