WINNER OF THE FLAHERTY-DUNNAN FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2014 CHAUTAUQUA PRIZE
One of Time Magazine’s “21 Female Authors You Should Be Reading”
Named a Best Book of 2013 by the Wall Street Journal
A New York Times Editors’ Choice
An O Magazine Top Ten Pick
Margaret Wrinkle, born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, is a writer, filmmaker, educator and visual artist. Her debut novel, Wash, reexamines American slavery in ways that challenge contemporary assumptions about race, power, history and healing. Wrinkle earned a BA and an MA in English from Yale University, studied traditional West African spiritual practices with Malidoma Somé, and was awarded a residency at Hedgebrook. She received the 2013 Dora Franklin Finley African-American Heritage Trail of Mobile Griot Award for outstanding contribution as storyteller of diverse cultural heritage. Her award-winning documentary brokenground, made with Chris Lawson about the racial divide in her historically conflicted hometown, was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and was a winner of the Council on Foundations Film Festival. She has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and lives in rural New Mexico.
In early 1800s Tennessee, two men find themselves locked in an intimate power struggle. Richardson, a troubled Revolutionary War veteran, has spent his life fighting not only for his country but also for wealth and status. When the pressures of westward expansion and debt threaten to destroy everything he’s built, he sets Washington, a young man he owns, to work as his breeding sire. Wash, the first member of his family to be born into slavery, struggles to hold onto his only solace: the spirituality inherited from his shamanic mother. As he navigates the treacherous currents of his position, despair and disease lead him to a potent healer named Pallas. Their tender love unfolds against this turbulent backdrop while she inspires him to forge a new understanding of his heritage and his place in it. Once Richardson and Wash find themselves at a crossroads, all three lives are pushed to the brink.