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DSM Book Festival Announces Two More Headlining Authors

February 17, 2022

GREATER DES MOINES, IA (Feb. 17, 2022) – The DSM Book Festival has announced two more headlining authors for the event set to take place on Saturday, March 26 in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). Imbolo Mbue, author of “Behold the Dreamers” and “How Beautiful We Were,” and Dawnie Walton, author of “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev,” have been added to the author list.

Mbue’s stunning debut, the New York Times bestseller “Behold the Dreamers,” was an Oprah’s Book Club selection and winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In this “quintessentially American” work (NPR), she explores marriage, immigration, class, race and the trapdoors in the American Dream through the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy. Her second novel, “How Beautiful We Were,” is a sweeping story about the collision of a small African village and an American oil company, offering “a brilliant exploration of modern colonialism and capitalism — and the fight for justice” (People). Both novels were recognized as being among the best books of the year by the New York Times and other publications.

Dawnie Walton is a fiction writer and journalist whose work explores identity, place and the influence of pop culture. In “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev,” Opal Jewel is the proudly Black, female, in-your-face-with-her-opinions, Afro-punk pioneer the author wished she'd had the opportunity to idolize when she was 14 and obsessed with rock music. The result is an electric, kaleidoscopic journey told in an oral-history structure of the rise and fall of the fictional early-1970s rock ‘n’ roll duo Opal & Nev. But underneath the colorful characters, bumping concerts and wild wardrobes, “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev” is a study of gender disparities, race relations, class, infidelity, tragedy and moral choices on the road to fame and success. Walton has won fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Tin House Summer Workshop and earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Walton’s presentation is sponsored by Kum & Go.

Mbue and Walton join a lineup that includes previously announced headliners Stephanie Land and Angeline Boulley. Land is the author of “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Way to Survive.” Her presentation is sponsored by United Way’s Women United. Boulley, who will present as part of the Des Moines Public Library’s Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) series, is the author of “Firekeeper’s Daughter.”

VIP packages are available for purchase for each author presentation. VIPs will receive a copy or copies of books from each author, premier seating for presentations, a DSM Book Festival commemorative item, complimentary beverage(s), 10% off a purchase at Beaverdale Books, and access to The Festival’s VIP Suite.

In addition to acclaimed authors, the DSM Book Festival will feature book club-style discussions led by featured commentators, hands-on activities, adult and children’s programming, food, drink, live music and more. More programming will be announced leading up to the event.

In addition to the headlining author sponsorships, The Festival is also supported by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Humanities, Prairie Meadows, Dotdash Meredith, John Ruan Foundation, Principal, BH Companies, BookPress Publishing and Des Moines Area Community College.

Learn more about the 2022 DSM Book Festival on The Festival’s website.

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The?Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at?DSMpartnership.com.


About Downtown, DSM, Inc.

Downtown DSM, Inc. is part of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and is dedicated to ensuring the continued growth of Downtown Des Moines (DSM). A strong region needs a strong Downtown. Downtown DSM, Inc. leads efforts to drive development, placemaking and events in Downtown DSM. It promotes a strong Downtown through integration of retail, restaurants, businesses, housing, events and placemaking.