The National Book Award is, simply said, one of the profoundest honors a writer can receive, and, usually, it goes to a book written by an author, who’s, you know, been around a little while. So it was quite the surprise when this year a more out-of-nowhere work of fiction claimed the prize: Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward. But the author’s lack of a decades-long track record doesn’t diminish the text, and in fact enhances it, as this emotionally powerful, lyrical tour de force studies a working class family—including pregnant teen protagonist and dogfighting brother—as it confronts Hurricane Katrina head-on. But Ward is no casual observer of this sort of struggle; for this new headliner in the literary world, this is just a slice of real life. With all this in mind, we called her up to talk about memory, writing in the wake of tragedy, and a newfound audience.

Click here to read the interview!

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