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Charis welcomes De'Shawn Charles Winslow in conversation with Dr. Daniel Black for a celebration of Decent People. From Center for Fiction First Novel Prize winning author De'Shawn Charles Winslow, a sweeping and unforgettable novel of a Black community reeling from a triple homicide, and the secrets the killings reveal. This event is co-hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.
In the still-segregated town of West Mills, North Carolina in 1976, Marian, Marva, and Lazarus Harmon-three enigmatic siblings-are found shot to death in their home. The people of West Mills-on both sides of the canal that serves as the town's color line-are in a frenzy of finger-pointing, gossip, and wonder. The crime is the first reported murder in the area in decades, but the white authorities don't seem to care or have any interest in solving the case.
Fortunately, one person is determined to do more than talk. Ms. Jo Wright has just moved back to West Mills from New York City to retire and marry a childhood sweetheart, Olympus “Lymp” Seymore. When she discovers that the murder victims are Lymp's half-siblings, and that Lymp is one of West Mills' leading culprits, she sets out on a transformative manhunt to prove his innocence.
As Jo begins to investigate those who might know the most about the Harmons' deaths, she starts to discover darker secrets than she'd ever imagined, and a pattern of cover ups-of racial incidents, homophobia, and medical misuse-that could upend the reputations of many.
For readers of American Spy and Bluebird, Bluebird, Decent People is a powerful new novel about shame, race, money, and the reckoning required to heal a fractured community.
De'Shawn Charles Winslow is the author of In West Mills, a Center for Fiction First Novel Prize winner, an American Book Award recipient, and a Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction winner, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book, Lambda Literary, and Publishing Triangle awards. He was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
Dr. Daniel Black is an award-winning novelist, professor, and activist. His published works include They Tell Me of Home, The Sacred Place, Perfect Peace, Twelve Gates to the City, The Coming, Listen to the Lambs, and Don't Cry For Me. In 2014, he won the Distinguished Writer’s Award from the Mid-Atlantic Writer’s Association. The Go On Girl! National Book Club named him “Author of the Year” in 2011 for his novel Perfect Peace. Perfect Peace was also chosen as the 2014 selection for “If All Arkansas Read the Same Book” by the Arkansas Center for the Book at the Arkansas State Library. The novel has been reprinted more than ten times and is being heralded as an American literary classic. Dr. Black has also been twice nominated for the Townsend Literary Prize, the Ernest J. Gaines Award, the Ferro-Grumbley Literary Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Georgia Author of the Year Prize. Dr. Black lives in Atlanta and is the founder of the Ndugu-Nzinga Rites of Passage Nation, a mentoring society for people of African descent. His debut essay collection, Black on Black: On Our Resilience and Brilliance in America, is out in January 2023.
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From Center for Fiction First Novel Prize winning author De’Shawn Charles Winslow, a sweeping and unforgettable novel of a Black community reeling from a triple homicide, and the secrets the killings reveal.
"A bighearted novel about family, migration, and the unbearable difficulties of love. Here's a cast of characters you won't soon forget." —Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
"Winslow's impressive debut novel introduces readers to both a flawed, fascinating character in fiction and a wonderful new voice in literature." —Real Simple, Best Books of 2019
A piercing collection of essays on racial tension in America and the ongoing fight for visibility, change, and lasting hope"There are stories that must be told." Acclaimed novelist and scholar Daniel Black has spent a career writing into the unspoken, fleshing out, through storytelling, pain that can't be described.
NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK IN ESSENCE MAGAZINE, THE MILLIONS AND BOOKISH
"Don't Cry for Me is a perfect song."--Jesmyn Ward
A novel of self-discovery, family bonds and the healing of one small southern town
In the summer of 1955, fourteen-year-old Clement enters a general store in Money, Mississippi to purchase a soda. Unaware of the consequences of flouting the rules governing black-white relations in the South, this Chicago native defies tradition, by laying a dime on the counter and turns to depart.
As seen on TikTok, Daniel Black’s Perfect Peace is the heartbreaking portrait of a large, rural southern family’s attempt to grapple with their mother’s desperate decision to make her newborn son into the daughter she will never have—“a complex, imaginative story of one unforgettable black family in mid-twentieth century Arkansas” (Atlanta Magazine).