About the Book
Nicholas Ward’s debut essay collection, All Who Belong May Enter, centers on self-exploration and cultural critique. These deeply personal essays examine whiteness, masculinity, and a Midwest upbringing through tales of sporting events, parties, posh (and not-so-posh) restaurant jobs, and the many relationships built and lost along the way. With a storyteller’s spirit, Ward recounts and evaluates the privilege of his upbringing with acumen and vulnerability. Ward’s profound affection for his friends, family, lovers, pets, and particularly for his chosen home, Chicago, shines through. This collection offers readers hope for healing that comes through greater understanding and inquiry into one’s self, relationships, and culture. Through these essays, Ward acknowledges his position within whiteness and masculinity, and he continuously holds himself and the society around him accountable.
Praise for All Who Belong May Enter
Well observed and curious, these essays will appeal to readers who, like Ward, are sensitive to inequality but unsure how to combat it.
In All Who Belong May Enter, Ward thoughtfully and honestly interrogates aspects of masculinity and how it affects his relationships and how he moves through the world. He expands his personal story to explore how gentrification has changed cities like Detroit and Chicago, considering white silence and complicity. An introspective, beautifully written work.
—Jaquira Díaz, author of Ordinary Girls
Nick Ward’s work reads like you’re swapping stories with your new best friend over a beer or two or five while simultaneously offering a deep interrogation of the places and institutions that make us who we are. In deeply felt, near-cinematic essays about his Midwest suburban childhood, his years in the restaurant industry, a zigzagging career in the arts, and the love and friendships that define him, Ward challenges us to be better—better thinkers, better partners, better citizens. All Who Belong May Enter is a bridge into complicated and vital conversations about masculinity and violence, whiteness and responsibility, and the people we want to be in this beautiful mess of a world. All of us belong to this work. Let’s get to it.
—Megan Stielstra, author of The Wrong Way to Save Your Life