Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the New York Times bestselling author of Take My Hand. Her previous novels include Wench and Balm. Perkins-Valdez has written introductions to a special edition of Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave, published by Simon & Schuster, as well as Elizabeth Keckly’s Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Perkins-Valdez is the current Chair of the Board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and is Associate Professor in the Literature Department at American University in Washington, DC.
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Capitol Park Museum, First Floor Auditorium
We Are the Stories We Tell: Celebrating 10 Years of Narrative 4
with Darrell Bourque, Ru Freeman, Colum McCann, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Elliott Woods, and moderator Felice Belle
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
State Capitol, House Committee Room 2
Human(un)kind: Addressing Racial and Social Justice through Fiction
Johnnie Bernhard, Susan Cushman, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and John Warner Smith with Robert Mann
2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Cavalier House Bookselling Tent
Take My Hand: A Novel
“Deeply empathetic yet unflinching in its gaze…an unforgettable exploration of responsibility and redemption.” —Celeste Ng
“Highlights the horrific discrepancies in our healthcare system and illustrates their heartbreaking consequences.” —Essence
Inspired by true events that rocked the nation, a searing and compassionate new novel about a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on a terrible injustice done to her patients, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wench
Montgomery, Alabama, 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend intends to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she hopes to help women shape their destinies, to make their own choices for their lives and bodies.
But when her first week on the job takes her along a dusty country road to a worn-down one-room cabin, Civil is shocked to learn that her new patients, Erica and India, are children—just eleven and thirteen years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black, and for those handling the family’s welfare benefits, that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her role, she takes India, Erica, and their family into her heart. Until one day she arrives at their door to learn the unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same for any of them.
Decades later, with her daughter grown and a long career in her wake, Dr. Civil Townsend is ready to retire, to find her peace, and to leave the past behind. But there are people and stories that refuse to be forgotten. That must not be forgotten.
Because history repeats what we don’t remember.
Inspired by true events and brimming with hope, Take My Hand is a stirring exploration of accountability and redemption.
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