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Joy Keys chats with Author Dawnie Walton

  • Broadcast in Books
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DAWNIE WALTON is a fiction writer and journalist whose explores identity, place, and the influence of pop culture. She has won fellowships from MacDowell and the Tin House Summer Workshop, and earned her MFA from the
Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Previously she worked as an executive-level editor for magazine and multimedia brands including Essence, Entertainment Weekly, Getty Images, and LIFE. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, she lives with her husband in Brooklyn.

The ecstatic early reader response to the debut novel The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by former magazine editor Dawnie Walton (37 Ink/Simon & Schuster; Hardcover) is unlike any in Simon & Schuster's recent history. Opal Jewel is the proudly Black, female, in-your-face-with-heropinions, Afro-punk pioneer the author wished she'd had the opportunity to idolize when she was 14 and obsessed with rock music. So in the Toni Morrison tradition (“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet,
then you must write it”), she brought Opal to the page—bald-headed, goldsuited, and fierce as Grace Jones or Tina Turner. The result is an electric, kaleidoscopic journey told in an oral-history structure of the rise and fall of the fictional early-1970s rock ‘n’ roll duo Opal & Nev. But underneath the colorful characters, bumping concerts, and wild wardrobes,The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is a study of gender disparities, race relations, class, infidelity, tragedy, and moral choices on the road to fame and success.

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