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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Aspen Words Community Read: Author Talk with Dawnie Walton

Rayon Richards
Aspen Words

2022 Aspen Words Literary Prize-winning author Dawnie Walton (“The Final Revival of Opal & Nev”) spoke with best-selling author Mary Beth Keane (“Ask Again, Yes”) as part of the 4th annual Community Read.

This was a free event, open to all and put on in partnership with Aspen Words Community Read partner’s Pitkin County Library, as well as media partners Aspen Public Radio and venue partners Aspen Art Museum.

The Community Read, presented by Aspen Words and Pitkin County Library, strives to celebrate literature, unite readers around a work of fiction and ignite meaningful conversation on the vital social issues explored in the Aspen Words Literary Prize-winning novel “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev.”

The 2022 Aspen Words Literary Prize jury says, “as innovative in form as it is soulful in delivery, “The Final Revival of Opal and Nev” is a dazzling exploration of the spectacular and eerie complications of the way race, gender and punk rock necessarily collide. What can these collisions produce? The book is a tutorial in the possibilities and terrifying limitations of an interracial duo who seem to move in two very different directions upon their breakup. Dawnie Walton blurs the lines between revelation and realization in a book that witnesses, and really undulates under, the weight of professional and personal secrets, while picking away at the very real desire for American progress with few substantial models for reciprocal American reckoning.”


Dawnie Walton is a fiction writer and journalist whose work explores identity, place and the influence of pop culture. She has won fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Tin House Summer Workshop and earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Previously, she worked as an executive-level editor for magazine and multimedia brands, including Essence, Entertainment Weekly, Getty Images and LIFE. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, she lives with her husband in Brooklyn. “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev” is her debut novel.


Mary Beth Keane is the author of “The Walking People,” “Fever,” and most recently, “Ask Again, Yes,” which spent eight weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. To date, translation rights to “Ask Again, Yes” have sold in 22 languages. She attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. She was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing, and has received citations from the National Book Foundation, PEN America, and the Hemingway Society. Her new novel, “The Half Moon,” is forthcoming from Scribner Books in April of 2023.