The Jenny McKean Moore Reading Series picks up again this Thursday, on November 9th, with a reading from New York Times Bestselling Author, Dolen Perkins-Valdez. Her latest book, Balm, has received widespread acclaim. The Washington Post wrote, “In gorgeous, compassionate prose, Perkins-Valdez continues our national conversation about people working together to heal our communities,” and Publishers Weekly said of Perkins-Valdez, that she “moves gracefully among her three protagonists’ viewpoints as they struggle to claim their authentic gifts and free themselves of the pain of their pasts. Her spare, lyrical voice is unsentimental yet compassionate.” With such enticing reviews as these, Perkins-Valdez’s reading is sure to be engaging!
Balm is centered on the lives of three dislocated people, Madge, Sadie, and Hemp, who are all trying to find some semblance of home, leaving behind the desolation of a Post-Civil War South. Madge has the gift of knowing other people’s suffering, and Sadie can commune with the dead. Hemp is struggling to find his family in a northern city that shines with possibility. Yet, for these three characters, redemption and salvation are hard to achieve as they battle to escape the aftermath of a war that left the country divided. “Madge, Sadie, and Hemp will be caught up in a desperate, unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest.”
Dolan Perkins-Valdez is a full-time English professor at American University, teaching both literature and in their MFA program. She also teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program in Maine. She is the Two-time NAACP Image Award Nominee, and has been awarded the First Novelist Award from Black Caucus of American Library Association, and received the DC Commission on the Arts Grant. Perkins-Valdez has also been a finalist for both the Hurston Wright Legacy Award for Fiction and Robert Olen Butler Prize for Short Fiction. She also had the honor of writing the Introduction to an edition of Solomon Northup’s that was a bestseller. Perkins-Valdez, a Harvard undergrad, finished GW’s graduate program in English.
This Thursday’s event starts at 7:30 in room 702 in Gelman Library.