Oprah Winfrey selects Jesmyn Ward's 'Let Us Descend' for her book club

Oprah Winfrey’s new book club pick highlights an author she has long admired, Jesmyn Ward

Hillel Italie
Tuesday 24 October 2023 13:23 BST

Oprah Winfrey's new book club pick highlights an author she has long admired, Jesmyn Ward.

On Tuesday, Winfrey announced she had selected Ward's “Let Us Descend,” which comes out this week. “Let Us Descend” is a slave narrative set in the 19th century and follows a teenage girl's journey across the American South. Ward, 46, is among the most acclaimed writers of her generation. Her previous works include the novels “Salvage the Bones” and “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” both winners of the National Book Award.

In 2022, she became the youngest winner of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

“I have read all of Jesmyn Ward’s books and have been a fan of her writing for years,” Winfrey said in a statement. “‘Let Us Descend’ is a vital work for our culture and I’m so excited to have her newest offering as part of our Book Club.”

Ward has also written such nonfiction as “Men We Reaped” and “Navigate Your Stars.” In a statement Tuesday, she expressed her lifelong admiration for Winfrey and how she was “deeply moved by Ms. Winfrey’s ability to challenge herself creatively and her unabashed championing of literature and the written word.”

"I tried to emulate all of this in my own life, and over the last 20 years, I worked my way through rejection and revision to now, when I find myself in a momentous point in my career," her statement reads. "I am so honored to contribute to the discussion at the heart of her club, which over the years, has considered what it means to be American, to be human, to be alive, to hope and yearn, with each outing. What a joy to add my own voice to her chorus!”

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