The incredible Jesmyn Ward has reached a two-book deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books and Scribner. Ward’s next adult-focused novel, which is still untitled, will remain squarely focused on the South like her previous work. It follows an enslaved woman who is sent from the Carolinas further south to New Orleans, which was one of the biggest slave markets at the time.

Ward’s second book has even less known about it, save that it is targeted for middle-grade readers and will feature a Black, Southern, female protagonist who possesses magical powers and goes on a magical journey.

Ward says in a statement:

I’m so pleased I’ve found a home with Scribner, and I’m even more delighted that I’m growing into that home as I have the opportunity to work on two more books here… Even though I read voraciously as a child, I never saw myself in books. 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.

Ward’s longtime editor, Kathy Belden who is also the executive editor at Scribner praised Jesmyn Ward’s stellar work in a statement: “Jesmyn Ward is a true artist, possessed of great talent, hard work, and imagination. Editing her books over several years, it has been amazing to watch her push herself and evolve, taking on new challenges every time.”

We can’t wait to read what Jesmyn Ward creates next!