Published August 18, 2020

In this webinar, recorded August 18, 2020, author De’Shawn Charles Winslow discusses his novel, In West Mills, with Allison Wright, executive editor of Virginia Quarterly Review. A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and winner of the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, In West Mills is a big-hearted small-town story about family, friendship, migration, storytelling, and the redemptive power of love.

“Winslow’s stellar debut follows the residents of a black neighborhood in a tiny North Carolina town over the course of several decades… Winslow has a finely tuned ear for the way the people of this small town talk, and his unpretentiously poetic prose goes down like a cool drink of water on a hot day.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“From the first page, Winslow establishes an uncanny authority and profound tone that belie the book’s debut status. The precision and charm of his language lure us in and soothe us…He paints a community so tightknit and thorough it becomes easy to forget the people in it don’t exist… Much of the story is told through dialogue, rich and truthful conversations among characters reminiscent of those in August Wilson’s plays, expressing so much more than what is on the surface.” – The New York Times Book Review

“Winslow’s quietly glorious novel is dedicated “To the reader,” and it engages on a level that’s appropriately intimate.” – Boston Globe

“Winslow pens layers of complexity in a narrative that is surprising and irresistible at every turn… In West Mills is a refreshing and arresting book that shines a light on a woman who rebels against society’s strict and unforgiving social norms, despite the costs.” – The Atlanta Journal Constitution

This webinar is part of our Virginia Festival of the Book’s “Shelf Life” series. Sign up for the Virginia Festival of the Book’s e-newsletter to learn about future discussions as they are announced.

Vanessa Adkins, right, is apprenticing under her cousin Jessica Canaday Stewart learning the finer points of traditional Chickahominy dancing. Photos taken at the Fall Festival and Pow Wow in Charles City on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.

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