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The Fire This Time

By Jesmyn Ward
The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

The New York Times bestseller, these groundbreaking essays and poems about race—collected by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward and written by the most important voices of her generation—are “thoughtful, searing, and at times, hopeful. The Fire This Time is vivid proof that words are important, because of their power to both cleanse and to clarify” (USA TODAY).

In this bestselling, widely lauded collection, Jesmyn Ward gathers our most original thinkers and writers to speak on contemporary racism and race, including Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Edwidge Danticat, Kevin Young, Claudia Rankine, and Honoree Jeffers. “An absolutely indispensable anthology” (Booklist, starred review), The Fire This Time shines a light on the darkest corners of our history, wrestles with our current predicament, and imagines a better future.

Envisioned as a response to The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin’s groundbreaking 1963 essay collection, these contemporary writers reflect on the past, present, and future of race in America. We’ve made significant progress in the fifty-odd years since Baldwin’s essays were published, but America is a long and painful distance away from a “post-racial society”—a truth we must confront if we are to continue to work towards change. Baldwin’s “fire next time” is now upon us, and it needs to be talked about; The Fire This Time “seeks to place the shock of our own times into historical context and, most importantly, to move these times forward” (Vogue).

20 Reviews

“Read 11/29/17 9/11/20”
“I loved this book. It was so great to hear so many experiences from so many different people about being black in America. This book was very profound and it made me think and feel so many different emotions while reading it. My favorite essays in this book were White Rage, Cracking the Code, Blacker Than Thou, Da Art of Storytellin' (a Prequel), and The Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning. I would recommend this book to anyone. Since the title of the book and the book itself was inspired by James Baldwin's book The Fire Next Time I definitely need to read it.”
“I'll probably write a somewhat more in-depth review on my storygraph. but WOW. i absolutely loved this entire collection. My jaw was consistent dropping and i've saved such a ridiculous amount of quotes. Some standouts for me were Cracking the Code, Blacker Than Thou, Da Art of Storytellin', and Composite Pops (but honestly they're all incredible).”
“Highly recommend. Will be purchasing my own copy to come back to again and again.”
“A strength of this collection is that is showcases a wide variety of experiences, highlighting the complexity of race. As with any anthology, each essay resonates differently. Before this I read "Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement" which was a fascinating companion as you hear the voices of a different generation. Would definitely recommend both!”

About Jesmyn Ward

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.

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