Welcome to the
2019-2020 UM-Flint Common Read!

We invite you to read the selected text and join in discussions and programs in the Fall semester. Since 2011, the Common Read Committee has selected a book that we encourage students, staff and faculty to read in order to bring the campus together around a common reading experience and the conversations it generates. We will update the Common Read web page as we add opportunities to discuss the book and its themes.

The 2019-2020 selection is
Jesmyn Ward's novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing.

Sing, Unburied, Sing is a beautiful and moving story focused on the quest for family and love in the dangerously racist and deeply impoverished fictional coastal town of Bois Savage, Mississippi. Thirteen-year-old JoJo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their African American grandparents, Pop and Mam. They experience the erratic parenting of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, in love with their white father, Michael, who has been locked up in the Mississippi State Penitentiary for 3 years and whose family is deeply racist. The novel blends the family’s present, in the voices of JoJo and Leonie, with the restless ghosts of two murdered black men. Commentators have pointed to this novel’s relationship to the work of Tony Morrison and William Faulkner.

[Sing, Unburied, Sing is] many things: a road novel, a slender epic of three generations and the ghosts that haunt them, and a portrait of what
ordinary folk in dire circumstances cleave to as well as what they—and perhaps we all—are trying to outrun.”
Tracy Smith, US Poet Laureate