“This year’s Mayor’s Book Club Selection is Dawnie Walton’s The Final Revival of Opal & Nev. This novel imagines two musicians against the backdrop of the 1970s music scene, and asks us to consider what we demand of Black entertainers when they enter the spotlight. As you read, I hope you will consider the vibrant music scene that we have here in Austin and how we can nurture the artists that make the city so great. I hope that all Austinites will join us in reading this timely novel, and I look forward to Dawnie Walton’s visit to the Central Library in November.”
- Austin Mayor Steve Adler
ABOUT THE BOOK
Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.
In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.
Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.
Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction. – Simon and Schuster
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
DAWNIE WALTON is a fiction writer and journalist whose work explores identity, place, and the influence of pop culture. She has won fellowships from MacDowell 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.
Q&A WITH DAWNIE WALTON
About the Mayor's Book Club
The Mayor's Book Club is an annual citywide reading campaign to encourage a community experience through reading, discussion, and exploration of shared books. The Mayor's Book Club is presented by the Library Foundation in partnership with the City of Austin Mayor's Office and the Austin Public Library.
Thank You To Our Sponsor!