Topeka Links Black Diversity Celebration with Author Rita Woods

Taking Back Our Stories

A Conversation with Rita Woods Moderated by Darren Canady

Event hosted by the Topeka (KS) Chapter of The Links as part of their Celebrating Black Diversity Conference. Learn more about other conference events here!

Join us! Dr. Rita Woods will discuss her book, The Last Dreamwalker with Osborn Prize-winning playwright and Topeka native, Darren Canady. Raven booksellers will be on hand with copies of Dr. Woods' book for purchase.

Registration is required for this free event. Get your ticket here!

About the Speakers

Rita Woods was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. She received a BS in Microbiology from Purdue University before graduating from Howard University College of Medicine. She completed her training at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and currently serves as Medical Director of a Wellness Center that provides care for members of one of the largest Trade Unions in the nation. Rita lives in suburban Chicago with her family, where she also serves as a Trustee on her local library board. She loves magic, books, history, coffee and traveling, not necessarily in that order. She is the author of the award-winning novel, Remembrance.

Darren Canady: I come from a family that revels in storytelling. Whether the story was joyful, elegiac, painful or cautionary, I grew up hearing, seeing, and listening to family stories that were only told if they could be performed with as much blood, life, exuberance, and expressiveness as possible. Many of these stories grew out of personal journeys experienced against the backdrop of Jim Crow, the Great Migration, and the Civil Rights Movement. As an heir to this oral tradition, my dramatic writing has become a natural outgrowth of the marriage of my filial storytelling traditions and the unique culture of African-American life in the Midwest. As new explorations of multiculturalism, urban life, and ethnic borderlands enter my playwriting, I nevertheless find myself consistently returning to investigations of family, history, and social change in the ever-changing landscape of the American heartland.

About the Book

In the wake of her mother's passing, Layla Hurley unexpectedly reconnects with her mother's sisters, women she hasn't been allowed to speak to, or of, in years.

Her aunts reveal to Layla that a Gullah-Geechee island off the shore of South Carolina now belongs to her As Layla digs deeper into her mother’s past and the mysterious island’s history, she discovers that the terrifying nightmares that have plagued her throughout her life and tainted her relationship with her mother and all of her family, is actually a power passed down through generations of her Gullah ancestors. She is a Dreamwalker, able to inhabit the dreams of others—and to manipulate them.

As Layla uncovers increasingly dark secrets about her family's past, she finds herself thrust into the center of a potentially deadly, decades-old feud fought in the dark corridor of dreams.

Event date: 
Saturday, April 15, 2023 - 9:00am to 1:00pm
Event address: 
Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
1515 Southwest 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604
The Last Dreamwalker By Rita Woods Cover Image
This book is hard-to-find or out of print and we may not be able to get it. Email for more details.
ISBN: 9781250805614
Published: Forge Books - September 20th, 2022

From Hurston/Wright Legacy Award-winning author Rita Woods, The Last Dreamwalker tells the story of two women, separated by nearly two centuries yet inextricably linked by the Gullah-Geechee Islands off the coast of South Carolina—and their connection to a mysterious and extraordinary gift passed from generation to generation.