• Dawnie Walton is the author of the novel The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, forthcoming from 37 Ink/Simon & Schuster. Her work as a fiction writer and journalist explores identity, place, and the influence of pop culture. A MacDowell Colony fellow (2015), a Tin House Scholar (2017), and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (MFA, 2018), she has worked as an executive-level editor for magazine and multimedia brands including Essence, Entertainment Weekly, Getty Images, and LIFE. Her short fiction has been featured on Poets & Writers’ “Ampersand” podcast and as part of “Let’s Play: Imagination, Intuition, and Black Creativity,” an interdisciplinary exhibit of Afrofuturist art at Oakland’s Pro-Arts Gallery. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, she lives in Brooklyn.

Curriculum vitae

    Degrees

  • M.F.A., Creative Writing (Fiction, May 2018)

    The Iowa Writers’ Workshop
    Iowa City, IA

    Thesis: Opal & Nev (formerly Aural History), a novel

    Advisor: Ayana Mathis

  • B.S., Magazine Publishing (December 1997)

    Florida A&M University
    Tallahassee, FL

    Teaching Experience

  • Workshop Instructor, Advanced Fiction (October-December 2019)

    Catapult
    New York, NY

    Led an 8-week course for emerging writers at one of New York City's premier programs.

  • Undergraduate Fiction Workshop (Spring 2018)

    The University of Iowa
    Iowa City, IA

    Led 12 promising young writers selected from a pool of applicants, guiding them in the development of their own fiction and critiquing the work of their peers.

  • Creative Writing (Fall 2018)

    The University of Iowa
    Iowa City, IA

    Taught 20 students, primarily STEM majors, the fundamentals of short fiction and poetry.

    Creative Writing & Media Fellowships

  • Whited Fellow (September 2018 - present)

    The Iowa Writers’ Workshop

    Won a top fellowship for graduating students to support ongoing literary work.

  • Summer Workshop Scholar (July 2018)

    Tin House

    One of 16 writers selected (from a pool of 1,300 applicants) for a merit-based scholarship to attend the prestigious literary magazine’s workshop intensive.

  • Meta Rosenberg Fellow (September 2016 - May 2017)

    The Iowa Writers’ Workshop

    Studied political fiction, novel structure, and long-form stories in workshops and classes led by V.V. Ganeshananthan, Margot Livesey, Ayana Mathis, and Ethan Canin.

  • Fiction Fellow (September - October 2015)

    The MacDowell Colony

    In a six-week residency, developed a partial first draft of Opal & Nev.

    Journalistic Experience

  • Entertainment Director (December 2017 - September 2018)

    Getty Images’ FOTO

    As a freelance consultant and later a staff editorial executive for FOTO, a consumer-facing startup division within Getty, I told stories through current and archival photography.

    • Brainstormed and executed content ideas springing off current entertainment news, popular culture, and social media buzz.
    • Led comprehensive visual coverage of tentpole events including the Oscars, the Met Gala, and the royal wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle.
    • Managed video and entertainment editors, and liaised with social media and audience development staffers to strategize on how best to expose our content.

  • Deputy Managing Editor (January 2012 - July 2015)

    Essence magazine

    • Developed digital strategy and led editorial direction for the Essence desktop and mobile sites, working closely with the digital executive editor and general manager to plan and execute an ambitious roadmap of enhancements and product launches.
    • Collaborated with Essence magazine's editor-in-chief to plan the print editorial calendar, devise new franchises and sign off on every page of every issue.
    • Advised on overall editorial direction and digital extensions for events including Essence Festival, Black Women in Hollywood, Black Women in Music and Street Style Awards.
    • Managed a digital team including 8 content editors plus an art director, photo editor and social media director.
    • Represented the brand via TV, radio and online appearances (including The View, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, and The Tom Joyner Morning Show).

  • Deputy Editor (October 2008 - January 2012)

    LIFE.com

    Oversaw content for the Celebrity channel features (including special printed editions), keeping a balance between the topical content that kept LIFE relevant and the archival gems our readers adored.

  • Editorial Director (May 2008 - October 2008)

    BravoTV.com

    Helmed product launches and worked with marketing and sales teams to brainstorm interactive features tied to the cable network’s shows.

  • Associate and Senior Editor (June 2002 - May 2008)

    EW.com

    Planned and edited daily content, managing a bicoastal staff of 16, and oversaw the homepage, organizing content based on user behavior and newsworthiness.

  • Copy Editor (April 2001 - January 2002)

    Talk magazine
  • News Editor/Deputy Copy Chief (May 2000 - February 2001)

    MTV Interactive
  • Layout and Copy Editor (May 1999 - May 2000)

    The Washington Post

    Selected Publications

  • The Final Revival of Opal & Nev, a novel (April 2021)

    A fictional oral history of the beloved rock & roll duo, the enigmatic black female artist and white British folksinger who shot to fame in 1971 New York, and the dark, fraught secret at the peak of their stardom. Forthcoming from 37 Ink/Simon & Schuster.

  • “Notes From the Idol’s Stylist” (June 2017)

    Flash fiction featured on “Ampersand” (the podcast of Poets ∧ Writers) and as part of “Let’s Play: Imagination, Intuition, and Black Creativity,” a multimedia exhibit of Afrofuturist art at Oakland’s Pro Arts Gallery.

  • “Reflections of You and Me?” (November 2013)

    Nonfiction for Essence magazine.

  • Various photo essays and interviews (2008-2018)

    For LIFE.com and Getty Images' FOTO. Interview subjects included Sophia Loren, Jeffrey Wright, Elisabeth Moss, Karlie Kloss, Kim Novak, and others.

  • Breaking news reports and criticism (2002-2008)

    For Entertainment Weekly's website and PopWatch blog.

    Selected Readings

  • "Proof" (November 2019)

    Short fiction for the Double Take reading series, New York, NY.

  • “The High Shelf” (December 2017)

    Short fiction for the Anthology series, Iowa City, IA.

  • “Buttersweet” (October 2016)

    Short fiction for the Witching Hour Festival, Iowa City, IA.

  • “On the Urge to Check Yo(ur)Self” (August 2016)

    Essay for the community event “This Is Our Peace: Many Races, One Iowa,” hosted by the Iowa Writers’ House.

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