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Dawnie Walton Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Dawnie Walton is a journalist and fiction author whose work explores the themes of place, identity and the influence of popular culture. She is best known in the literary world for “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev” her debut novel that she first published in 2021. Booklist in a starred review called the novel a boldly imagined, stereophonic and cinematic work of agency, gender and race in art. Walton has been a 2017 Tin House Scholar, a 2015 MacDowell Colony Fellow. She is also a graduate of the 2018 Iowa Writers Workshop. Before she wrote her blockbuster novel, she also worked for multimedia and magazine brands as editor for the likes of “LIFE,” “Essence,” “Getty Images,” and “Entertainment Weekly.” She currently describes herself as a freelance storyteller. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn New York City from where she writes her works.

Speaking about the inspiration for “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev” her debut novel, Dawnie Walton has said that she was inspired by something very weird. She had been a black girl in college prep school that loved rock music at a time when all the Bands seemed to be made up of black men. Black women tended to fly under the radar and she did not see any reflection of herself at a time when she was developing her own identity. Things changed when she started going to A&M University in Florida which was a historically black college. In Tallahassee, she suddenly found that she was not alone in having a taste for all kinds of music. In fact Miles Davis and particularly his cadence and voice which are described in his autobiography were something she was inspired by. In her novel, she describes him as a unapologetically Black Feminist, a fashion rebel, black skinned provocateur, and singer song writer though she calls him Nev Charles.

After earning her degree in journalism, Dawnie Walton went on to work in media after she got a job with the Washington Post. She would then leave and work for New York City based “Essence” as a deputy managing editor. In 2015, she was admitted as a resident to the MacDowell Colony and left her job to try her hand at writing. For a very long time, she had felt good and at almost forty years of age she did not want to change her life. It was an Oh shit moment when she started making the move to write her debut novel. When she got into MacDowell, she was knocked off her feet by the rigorous regimen and wrote 100 pages of her manuscript over six weeks. She then went to the Iowa Writers Workshop and it was there that she was influenced by the work of Ayana Mathis that also happened to be her thesis advisor. At some point she wrote short stories as she took a break from writing Opal. Nonetheless, she was determined to graduate with her manuscript finished.

In the spring of 2018, Dawnie moved back to New York after graduating from college with manuscript in hand. She was living with De’Shawn Winslow, one of her classmates that was a client of a literary agent. Mark the literary agent liked what he read and even though she was working with other agents at the time Walton took into account some of the ideas he proposed. Even though they had never met, they had a great virtual meeting as he perfectly understood her vision of what she wanted the book to be. Dawnie Walton got signed in 2018 when Janklow &Nesbit agreed to buy her work. In the meantime “37 Inks’” Dawn Davis had heard of how good the manuscript for “Opal” was and wanted to read it. She wrote an email to Mathis asking him to send over a copy of the work of the student that everybody was talking about. Davis contacted Walton on Instagram and got the manuscript sent to him. She was in Savannah with her fiancé looking at possible venues for their wedding when she got a message saying 37 Ink wanted to buy her manuscript. She sold the novel to Quercus that won the UK auction and signed a contract with 37 Ink in 2019.

Dawne Walton’s “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev” is the story of an independent and fierce woman pushing against the grain. She is Afro punk in her attitude and style even before the term came into existence. Becoming an adult in Detroit and working the 9-5 has never been something she considered. Despite having very weird looks, she thought of herself as a star in the making. As such, when Neville Charles the British songwriter/singer sees her performing at amateur night in a bar, he makes the first move. He offers her a chance to make music together at the Rivington Records, then a fledgling production outfit. This was during 1970s New York and she is part of the funky and flamboyant city scene and just finding her niche. But then a band signed to their label brings a confederate flag to a concert she was performing at. Opal is furious and protests causing much violence that changes everything. The repercussions are particularly hard for her as a woman of color who dares speak her truth. Nearly a decade later, she is considering working with journalist S Sunny Shelton and Nev for a reunion in 2016. Sunny thinks it would be a good idea to write the oral history of the many idols of the black cause. Sunny thought she knew everything about how the cult duo came to be one of the most sought after performers in the US. But nothing could be further from the truth as new allegations come to light and threaten to destroy everything. The interviews she conducts are some of the most explosive ever done on the duo. “The Final Revival of Opal &Nev” comes with a chorus of voices that will forever be etched in our hearts. It also comes with a heroine unlike any other even as it introduces contemporary fiction’s boldest new voice.

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