As an adult, I learned this: persist. Work hard. Face rejection, weather the setbacks, until you meet the gatekeeper who will open a door for you. Jesmyn Ward grew up in a poor, rural community in Mississippi. Today, as the first woman to win the National Book Award twice, she is celebrated as one of America’s greatest living writers. ‘Navigate Your Stars’ is a stirring reflection on the value of hard work and the importance of respect for oneself and others. First delivered as a 2018 commencement address at Tulane University, it captures Ward’s inimitable voice as she reflects on her experiences as a Southern black woman, addressing the themes of grit, adversity and the importance of family bonds.