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Evening with Jacqueline E. Luckett and Dolen Perkins Valdez

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After leaving the corporate world, Jacqueline Luckett took a creative writing class on a dare, from herself, and began writing short stories and poetry and never looked back.
Searching for Tina Turner is the story of Lena Harrison Spencer, a woman on the verge of change, whose journey is inspired by Tina Turner’s strength. There is no physical abuse in Lena’s life, but there is the longing to follow a dream. Lena loves her life, her husband Randall—successful, attentive, but distant—and their two children—Kendrick, the oldest, trying to nip a drug habit in the bud, and Camille, seventeen and disgusted by her mother’s overbearing behavior.

Wench: A Novel by Dolen Perkins-valdez. In her debut, Perkins-Valdez eloquently plunges into a dark period of American history, chronicling the lives of four slave women—Lizzie, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu—who are their masters' mistresses. The women meet when their owners vacation at the same summer resort in Ohio. There, they see free blacks for the first time and hear rumors of abolition, sparking their own desires to be free. For everyone but Lizzie, that is, who believes she is really in love with her master, and he with her. An extended flashback in the middle of the novel delves into Lizzie's life and vividly explores the complicated psychological dynamic between master and slave. Jumping back to the final summer in Ohio, the women all have a decision to make—will they run? Heart-wrenching, intriguing, original and suspenseful, this novel showcases Perkins-Valdez's ability to bring the unfortunate past to life.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez's fiction and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, African American Review, North Carolina Literary Review, and the Richard Wright Newsletter. Born and raised in Memphis, a graduate of Harvard, and a former University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow, Perkins-Valdez teaches creative writing at the University of Puget Sound.

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