On Witness and Respair: A Personal Tragedy Followed by Pandemic

Jesmyn Ward by Beowulf Sheehan






“My commitment surprised me. Even in a pandemic, even in grief, I found myself commanded to amplify the voices of the dead that sing to me, from their boat to my boat, on the sea of time.”

In a raw and intimate account for Vanity Fair, Jesmyn Ward, National Book Award winning author of Sing, Unburied, Sing and a Phil Lind Initiative speaker for our 2020 series Thinking While Black, recounts the story of her husband’s sudden passing. Ward reflects on her grief and sense of wonder in the retelling of her revelations during several Black Lives Matter movements and the pandemic, all in the wake of her family’s personal tragedy.

Read the full piece here.