Dawnie Walton is a writer, editor, and author of the acclaimed 2021 debut novel The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, a finalist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and named one of the best books of 2021 by The Washington Post, NPR, Esquire, and former U.S. President Barack Obama, among others. Her work explores identity, place, and the influence of pop culture. Formerly an editor at Essence and Entertainment Weekly, she has received fellowships in fiction writing from MacDowell and Tin House, and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her writing has been published in Bon Appetit, Oxford American, Lithub, and Black Ballad. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and an alumna of Florida A&M University’s journalism school, she now lives in Brooklyn with her husband. She’ll be appearing at Word of South with the musical group Purple Hurt.