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An Addict, a Confessed Killer and Now a Debut Author

Alter, Alexandra

Publisher:  New York Times
Date Written:  02/07/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article

The novel "The Graybar Hotel" has received significant praise, yet its release has also raised difficult questions and challenges for the publisher as it tries to win over booksellers and critics to support a work written by a convicted murderer.



One October night in 2004, Curtis Dawkins smoked crack, dressed up for Halloween in a gangster costume and terrorized a household, killing one man and taking another hostage in a rampage that drew 24 patrol officers and a six-member SWAT team. He is serving a life sentence without parole in Michigan.

On Tuesday, he will also be a published author when his debut story collection is released by Scribner, a literary imprint at one of the country's top publishing houses. The unlikely story of how Mr. Dawkins, a recovering addict and confessed killer, landed a major book deal is a strange inversion of the usual prison-writing trajectory:

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