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Dawn Powell


Dawn Powell was born in Mount Gilead, Ohio, in 1896. (She gave her birth as 1897 but this seems to be incorrect.) Her father was a travelling salesman. Her mother died when she was six and she lived with various relatives around Ohio. Her father remarried but her stepmother was particularly cruel and burned all her early diaries and stories, prompting Powell to run away, ending up with an aunt in Shelby, Ohio. In 1918 she went with the Red Cross to New York. She stayed there after the war, got married and published her first novel (which she later disavowed). The family lived in Greenwich Village, where she spent the rest of her life and where many of her novels are set. She died in 1965. She had mixed success. However, when she died, most of her novels were out of print. There was a revival in the 1990s led by Gore Vidal and others, and her books have now been published in the Library of America collection.

Books about Dawn Powell

Tim Page: Dawn Powell. A Biography

Other links

Dawn Powell
Dawn Powells Masterful Gossip: Why Won’t It Sell?
The Country and the City (profile of Powell)
The Triumphs and Tragedies of Dawn Powell, Central Ohio’s Forgotten Literary Genius
Minding Other People’s Business: On Dawn Powell
How Dawn Powell can save your life
Angel on Toast (review of the Page biography)
Dawn Powell (first chapter of the Page biography)


1925 Whither (novel)
1928 She Walks in Beauty (novel)
1929 The Bride’s House (novel)
1930 Dance Night (novel)
1932 The Tenth Moon (novel) (Reprinted in 2001 by The Library of America as Come Back to Sorrento)
1933 Big Night (play)
1934 Jig Saw: A Comedy (play)
1934 The Story of a Country Boy (novel)
1936 Turn, Magic Wheel (novel)
1938 The Happy Island (novel)
1940 Angels on Toast (novel)
1942 A Time to Be Born (novel)
1944 My Home Is Far Away (novel)
1948 The Locusts Have No King (novel)
1952 Sunday, Monday and Always (stories)
1954 The Wicked Pavilion (novel)
1957 A Cage for Lovers (novel)
1962 The Golden Spur (novel)
1994 Dawn Powell At Her Best
1995 The Diaries of Dawn Powell, 1931–1965
1999 Selected Letters of Dawn Powell, 1913–1965
1999 Four Plays