National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward on how racism haunts the present

Author Jesmyn Ward is regularly called a modern William Faulkner. She sets her novels in small-town Mississippi, and uses that setting to explore how America’s racist past continues to burden its present. Her new novel, “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” is on the shortlist for this year’s National Book Award. It’s written primarily from the perspective of a mother and her biracial teenage son, who are haunted by ghosts from the family’s past.

Author Jesmyn Ward. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan.