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Debut Novel Charts Four Decades In A NC African American Community

a headshot of De'Shawn Charles Winslow
Julie R. Keresztes/Courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing
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Azelea “Knot” Centre is an independent, strong-willed woman who likes to live life on her own terms. She is an unabashed alcoholic who refuses to comply with societal norms, like marriage. Her next door neighbor, Otis Lee, is a close friend who tries to “fix” Knot by trying to convince her to settle down and live a more traditional life.

These two characters and their friendship drive the plot of the new novel “In West Mills” (Bloomsbury Publishing/2019). It takes place over the course of more than four decades in a post-war, fictionalized African-American community in North Carolina.

Host Frank Stasio talks to author De’Shawn Charles Winslow about his debut novel, inspired by his own experience growing up in Elizabeth City. It explores themes of friendship, forgiveness and love. Winslow will be at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill Tuesday, June 11 at 7 p.m.

Amanda Magnus is the editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health. She's also the lead producer for on-demand content at WUNC and has worked on "Tested" and "CREEP."
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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