2011 National Book Award Winner,

Jesmyn Ward

Salvage the Bones

(Bloomsbury USA)


Jesmyn Ward, photo credit: Tony Cook ABOUT THE BOOK

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker largely absent, he doesn’t show interest in much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fifteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pit bull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting.

As the twelve days that make up the novel’s framework yield to a dramatic conclusion, the unforgettable family at the novel’s core—motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce—pulls itself up to face another day.


Jesmyn Ward grew up and currently lives in DeLisle, Mississippi. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and the 2010-2011 John and Renée Grisham Visiting Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi. Her debut novel, Where the Line Bleeds (2008), was an Essence Magazine Book Club selection, the recipient of a Black Caucus of the ALA Honor Award, and a finalist for both the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Ward is the professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama located in Mobile.




Photo credit: Tony Cook