Dolen Perkins-Valdez


Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the New York Times bestselling author of Wench (2010), Balm (2015), and most recently Take My Hand (2022). Take My Hand was named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Newsweek, San Francisco Chronicle, Essence, NBC News, and elsewhere. It was awarded the 2023 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Fiction and the 2023 BCALA Award for Fiction. Take My Hand was a finalist for a Goodreads Choice Award and was named a Top 20 Book of the Year by the Editors at Amazon, and the audiobook version was named a Best of 2022 by Audible. The American Bar Association recently named Take My Hand a finalist for its prestigious Silver Gavel Award recognizes an "outstanding work that fosters the American public's understanding of law and the legal system." Dolen is a two-time nominee for a United States Artists Fellowship.

In 2011, Wench was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction. In 2017, HarperCollins released Wench as one of eight "Olive Titles," limited edition modern classics that included books by Edward P. Jones, Louise Erdrich, and Zora Neale Hurston.

Dolen has established herself as a pre-eminent chronicler of American historical life. In 2013, she wrote the introduction to a special edition of Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave, published by Simon & Schuster, which became a New York Times bestseller. She followed that with an introduction to Elizabeth Keckly's Behind the Scenes, published in 2016, and the forthcoming 75th anniversary of George Orwell's 1984 which will be published by Penguin Random House.

Dolen is the current Chair of the Board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. On behalf of the foundation, she has visited nearly every public high school in the District of Columbia to talk about the importance of reading and writing. She is currently Associate Professor in the Literature Department at American University and lives in Washington, DC with her family.

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