Heard US writer Jesmyn Ward in conversation with UNSW's Stephanie Bishop at the IO Myers Studio. They primarily discussed JW's second and latest novel, "Salvage The Bones". It details the plight of a poverty-stricken black family on the Gulf Coast before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. It's about a "girl raised among men", hiding her teenage pregnancy, searching for female role models and finding an unlikely one in a pit-fighting dog that has recently whelped. And it's about what builds or breaks communities. Ward spoke candidly on the "sugar-coating" she now sees as the failing of her first novel, and movingly on her forthcoming memoir, which tries to make sense of the deaths of her brother and four male friends within a short period. Her answers were as affecting as her lyrical prose (I'm currently on page 92 of "Salvage") and I could have listened to her describing the authorial experience in her southern accent for a lot longer than 1.5 hours.