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Wednesday, 7:00 pm February 5, 2020
Actors Eisa Davis and André Holland will perform a dramatic reading of In West Mills by De’Shawn Charles Winslow, winner of the 2019 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. A discussion of Winslow’s unforgettable characters and dynamic storytelling will follow.
This event is part of our Story/Teller series, which pairs authors and performers together to illustrate the joy of stories coming alive when read aloud.
De'Shawn Charles Winslow
De'Shawn Charles Winslow
De’Shawn Charles Winslow was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and in 2003 moved to Brooklyn, New York. He is a 2017 graduate of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and holds a BFA in creative writing and an MA in English literature from Brooklyn College. He has received scholarships from the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. De’Shawn lives in East Harlem.
Eisa Davis is a performer, composer, and writer working on stage and screen. A 2020 Creative Capital awardee, Herb Alpert Award recipient, Cave Canem fellow, and Obie winner for Sustained Excellence in Performance, Eisa was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play Bulrusher, and wrote and starred in the stage memoir Angela’s Mixtape. She was in residence at Sundance Theater Lab/Mass MoCA with her experimental music piece The Essentialisn’t. Alongside her twelve full length plays and current commissions, she has written for both seasons of the Spike Lee Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It, penned the narration for Cirque du Soleil’s ice show Crystal, and has released two albums of music. Performance work includes The Looming Tower, Succession, House of Cards, The Wire, Bluff City Law, After The Wedding, Betty (HBO, upcoming), Carrie Mae Weems’ Grace Notes/Past Tense, the musical adaptation of The Secret Life of Bees, Kings, Julius Caesar, Preludes, Luck of the Irish, The Call, This, and Passing Strange.
André Holland is stage and screen actor, producer, and director, best known for his work in the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight, Netflix’s High Flying Bird, Cinemax’s The Knick, and FX’s American Horror Story, among many others. His most recent theatre credits include Jitney by August Wilson on Broadway and Othello at Shakespeare’s Globe.
In West Mills
By De'Shawn Charles Winslow
Let the people of West Mills say what they will about Azalea “Knot” Centre; they won’t keep her from what she loves best: cheap moonshine, nineteenth-century literature, and the company of men. And yet, when motherhood looms, Knot begins to learn that her freedom has come at a high price. Low on money, ostracized from her parents and cut off from her hometown, Knot turns to her neighbor, Otis Lee Loving, in search of some semblance of family and home.
Otis Lee is eager to help. A lifelong fixer, Otis Lee is determined to steer his friends and family away from decisions that will cause them heartache and ridicule. After his failed attempt to help his older sister, who lives a precarious life in the North, Otis Lee discovers a possible path to redemption in the chaos Knot brings to his doorstep. But while he’s busy trying to fix Knot’s life, Otis Lee finds himself powerless to repair the many troubles within his own family, as the long-buried secrets of his troubled past begin to come to light.
Spanning decades in a rural North Carolina town where a canal acts as the color line, In West Mills is a magnificent, big-hearted small-town story about family, friendship, storytelling, and the redemptive power of love.
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