Jesmyn Ward, prize-winning author, has 2 new novels planned

NEW YORK: National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward has her next two novels planned.

On Wednesday, Scribner told The Associated Press that Ward will write an adult novel about an enslaved woman sent from the Carolinas to New Orleans.

She will then work on her first novel for middle graders, a “magical adventure” featuring a Southern black woman with “special powers.”

“Even though I read voraciously as a child, I never saw myself in books,” Ward said in a statement. “Without narratives to expand my ideas of who I could be, I accepted the stories others told me about myself, stories which diminished and belittled me and people like me.

I want to write against that. I’ve wanted to write a middle grade/YA book for years, a book that might reach the child I once was and expand that child’s sense of self.”

Titles and publication dates for the two books have not yet been determined. Scribner will publish the adult book, while the middle grade novel will be released by another Simon & Schuster imprint, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, part of Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

A Mississippi native, Ward won the National Book Award last fall for her novel about a black family in her home state, “Sing, Unburied, Sing.

” She also won the National Book Award in 2011 for “Salvage the Bones,” the story of a Mississippi community confronting Hurricane Katrina. Her other books include the novel “Where the Line Bleeds” and the memoir “Men We Reaped.”