The Fire This Time

The Fire This Time : A New Generation Speaks about Race

4.37 (8,325 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 9-12 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


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 light of recent tragedies and widespread protests across the nation, The Progressive magazine republished one of its most famous pieces: James Baldwin's 1962 "Letter to My Nephew," which was later published in his landmark book, The Fire Next Time. Addressing his fifteen-year-old namesake on the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Baldwin wrote: "You know and I know, that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon."

Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward knows that Baldwin's words ring as true as ever today. In response, she has gathered short essays, memoir, and a few essential poems to engage the question of race in the United States. And she has turned to some of her generation's most original thinkers and writers to give voice to their concerns.

The Fire This Time is divided into three parts that shine a light on the darkest corners of our history, wrestle with our current predicament, and envision a better future. Of the eighteen pieces, ten were written specifically for this volume.

In the fifty-odd years since Baldwin's essay was published, entire generations have dared everything and made significant progress. But the idea that we are living in the post-Civil Rights era, that we are a "post-racial" society is an inaccurate and harmful reflection of a truth the country must confront. Baldwin's "fire next time" is now upon us, and it needs to be talked about.

Contributors include Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Garnette Cadogan, Edwidge Danticat, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Mitchell S. Jackson, Honoree Jeffers, Kima Jones, Kiese Laymon, Daniel Jose Older, Emily Raboteau, Claudia Rankine, Clint Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Wendy S. Walters, Isabel Wilkerson, and Kevin Young.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 25mm | 363g
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1501126342
  • 9781501126345
  • 455,994

Review quote

"Through her essays and poems about race, Jesmyn Ward's The Fire This Time acts as a response to James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time. Ward looks at the past, present, and future of America's notion of race, and the progress made from Baldwin's era up until now. Baldwin said that if we don't solve our country's problem of racial inequality, our society will be set ablaze, and Ward proves that that fire has already started."

"Edited by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, The Fire This Time is a collection of pieces by various authors on race in America, inspired by James Baldwin's 1963 book The Fire Next Time. Where were we then, where are we now, and where are we headed? Through its stunning essays and poems, this collection masterfully explores those questions and more."

"In this searing anthology edited by two-time National Book Award winner Jesymn Ward, who dedicates the collection to Trayvon Martin, literary luminaries wrestle with what Ward calls "the ugly truths that plague us in this country." Envisioned as a contemporary response to James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time, The Fire This Time assembles essays and poems from brilliant writers including Jericho Brown, Edwidge Danticat, and Kevin Young, who dissect the historic legacy of structural racism in America, unpack the violent inequities of our contemporary moment, and envision a brighter future for people of color."
show more

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, and the Strauss Living Prize. She is the winner 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 an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in Mississippi
show more

Rating details

8,325 ratings
4.37 out of 5 stars
5 49% (4,078)
4 40% (3,366)
3 9% (763)
2 1% (79)
1 0% (39)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X