THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT! Reserve a signed copy here.
From Jesmyn Ward—the two-time National Book Award winner, youngest winner of the Library of Congress Prize for Fiction, and MacArthur Fellow—comes a haunting masterpiece, sure to be an instant classic, about an enslaved girl in the years before the Civil War.
Let us celebrate two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward and her new novel Let Us Descend. Wednesday, November 1 @ 7 PM at The Powerhouse.
THIS IS A TICKETED EVENT. Your ticket includes a seat to the author event PLUS a signed copy of the book.
About the Book
“‘Let us descend,’ the poet now began, ‘and enter this blind world.’” —Inferno, Dante Alighieri
Let Us Descend is a reimagining of American slavery, as beautifully rendered as it is heart-wrenching. Searching, harrowing, replete with transcendent love, the novel is a journey from the rice fields of the Carolinas to the slave markets of New Orleans and into the fearsome heart of a Louisiana sugar plantation.
Annis, sold south by the white enslaver who fathered her, is the reader’s guide through this hellscape. As she struggles through the miles-long march, Annis turns inward, seeking comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother. Throughout, she opens herself to a world beyond this world, one teeming with spirits: of earth and water, of myth and history; spirits who nurture and give, and those who manipulate and take. While Ward leads readers through the descent, this, her fourth novel, is ultimately a story of rebirth and reclamation.
From one of the most singularly brilliant and beloved writers of her generation, this miracle of a novel inscribes Black American grief and joy into the very land—the rich but unforgiving forests, swamps, and rivers of the American South. Let Us Descend is Jesmyn Ward’s most magnificent novel yet, a masterwork for the ages.
About the Author
Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and has received the MacArthur Genius Grant, a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency, the Strauss Living Prize, and the 2022 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. She is the historic winner—first woman and first Black American—of two National Book Awards for Fiction for Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017) and Salvage the Bones (2011). She is also the author of the novel Where the Line Bleeds and the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Media for a Just Society Award. She is currently a professor of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in Mississippi.
"Jesmyn is, quite simply, the best of us." - Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me and The Water Dancer
"[Ward] has become a more than worthy successor to Toni Morrison as a writer who can seamlessly blend spirituality and history to create a compelling narrative. Let Us Descend transcends even those achievements as she has written a book that completely bears witness, much like the most influential novel of the 19th century, Uncle Tom's Cabin.... Just as that book did, Jesmyn gives searing testimony on the terrible depths of history and society in this country. She has defined an American inferno, one with infinite circles, not just nine, but also one that contains the possibility of deliverance. For all the wonderful books we get to read, the fact is there are few each year that rise above and very few that will last through the ages. Let Us Descend is that rarity." ~Bill Cusumano, Square Books