Jesse Ball

Artist Bio

Census is a travel-narrative about a retired doctor who travels north conducting the census with his adult son, a man with Down Syndrome. The book consists of a series of sections, each a discrete visit to a house or a rumination that the census taker has regarding his past life. The text is inspired by the author’s brother, who had Down Syndrome and died at the age of 25. Through Census, Ball will imagine what his brother would have been like had he lived into adulthood, presenting a portrait of what it means to know and love a person with Down Syndrome that runs counter to our culture’s representations of the condition.

Census was published by HarperCollins in March, 2018.

Award Year


Jesse Ball reads from his book at the 2016 Creative Capital Retreat


Jesse Ball

Chicago, IL

Jesse Ball (1978-) Fabulist. Born in New York. His works of absurdity have been published in many parts of the world and translated into more than a dozen languages.