top of page

Tue, Jun 04


Sankofa Video, Books, & Café

Daughter of the Merciful Deep

We're excited to host the release of L. Penelope's new book Daughters of the Merciful Deep! L. Penelope will be in conversation with Dolen Perkins-Valdez!

Daughter of the Merciful Deep
Daughter of the Merciful Deep

Time & Location

Jun 04, 2024, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Sankofa Video, Books, & Café, 2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA


About The Event

Watch Conversation HERE

About the book:

A woman journeys into a submerged world of gods and myth to save her home in this powerful historical fantasy that shines a light on the drowned Black towns of the American South.

"Our home began, as all things do, with a wish."

Jane Edwards hasn't spoken since she was eleven years old, when armed riders expelled her family from their hometown along with every other Black resident. Now, twelve years later, she's found a haven in the all-Black town of Awenasa. But the construction of a dam promises to wash her home under the waters of the new lake.

Jane will do anything to save the community that sheltered her. So, when a man with uncanny abilities arrives in town asking strange questions, she wonders if he might be the key. But as the stranger hints at gods and ancestral magic, Jane is captivated by a bigger mystery. She knows this man. Only the last time she saw him, he was dead. His body laid to rest in a rushing river.

Who is the stranger and what is he really doing in Awenasa? To find those answers, Jane will journey into a sunken world, a land of capricious gods and unsung myths, of salvation and dreams made real. But the flood waters are rising. To gain the miracle she desires, Jane will have to find her voice again and finally face the trauma of the past.

About the author:

For more from Leslye Penelope, check out The Monsters We Defy.

Leslye Penelope, who also writes as L. Penelope, has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of fantasy and paranormal romance. Her debut novel Song of Blood & Stone was chosen as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. The novel also won the inaugural award for Best Self-Published Fiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her 2022 novel The Monsters We Defy won the 2023 Audie Award for Best Fantasy Audiobook.

She was born in the Bronx, not long after the birth of hip hop, but left before she could acquire an accent. Equally left and right-brained, she studied film production at Howard University and minored in computer science. This led to a master’s degree in multimedia and a career in website development. She’s also an award-winning independent filmmaker, co-founded a literary magazine, and sometimes dreams in HTML.

Leslye is an alumna of VONA/Voices and Hurston/Wright Writers Workshop. She has spoken and taught at conferences and festivals around the country including the Baltimore Book Festival, Romance Writers of America, Writers Digest Annual & Novel Writing Conferences, and the Historical Novel Society.

Her podcast, My Imaginary Friends, is a journal of her publishing life, perfect for readers and writers alike. Leslye lives in Maryland with her feline dependents.

About the host:

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the New York Times bestselling author of Wench (2010), Balm (2015), and most recently Take My Hand (2022). Take My Hand was named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Newsweek, San Francisco Chronicle, Essence, NBC News, and elsewhere. The novel was a finalist for a Goodreads Choice Award and named a Top 20 Book of the Year by the Editors at Amazon.  It was awarded the 2023 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Fiction and the 2023 BCALA Award for Fiction. The audiobook version of Take My Hand was named a Best of 2022 by Audible.

The American Bar Association recently awarded Take My Hand  its prestigious Silver Gavel Award which recognizes an "outstanding work that fosters the American public's understanding of law and the legal system."

In 2011, Wench was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction, and in 2017, HarperCollins released Wench as one of eight "Olive Titles," limited edition modern classics that included books by Edward P. Jones, Louise Erdrich, and Zora Neale Hurston.

Dolen has established herself as a pre-eminent chronicler of American historical life.  In 2013, she wrote the introduction to a special edition of Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave, published by Simon & Schuster, which became a New York Times bestseller. She followed that with an introduction to Elizabeth Keckly's Behind the Scenes, published in 2016, and the forthcoming 75th anniversary of George Orwell's 1984 which will be published by Penguin Random House in 2023.

Dolen is a three-time nominee for a United States Artists Fellowship and is currently Associate Professor in the Literature Department at American University and lives in Washington, DC with her family.


  • Book Ticket

    This ticket ensures a book will be waiting for you at the register.

  • Donation Ticket

    Feel free to donate! Every dollar helps us maintain this sacred space. We appreciate your intentionality in supporting us!




Share This Event

bottom of page