By Zoe Bushman:
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.
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.
The Last Dreamwalker is a gripping, contemporary read about power and agency; family and legacy; and the ways trauma, secrets, and magic take shape across generations.
The Last Dreamwalker features the Gullah people and the Gullah-Geechee islands off the South Carolina coast. In honor of its upcoming release in trade paperback, here are five sites in South Carolina that highlight the unique history and culture of the Gullah!
Part of the Gullah/Geechee Historical Corridor, the McLeod Plantation is now a historic site that examines the history of the plantation while emphasizing the perspectives and humanity of the enslaved. The McLeod Plantation explores the emergence of Gullah culture from the Africans enslaved on the South Carolina coast.
Located in the International African American Museum in Charleston, the Gullah Geechee Gallery features both the history of the Gullah and their contemporary culture. With a variety of displays, from a full-size boat to media showcasing modern-day community organizing, the Gullah Geechee Gallery links past to present while grappling with the meaning of Gullah Geechee identity.
Found on Hilton Head Island off the coast of South Carolina, the Gullah Museum was founded in 2003 to preserve and share the history of Gullah culture on the island from before it was linked to the mainland. The museum provides lectures, displays artifacts, and works to maintain traditions, songs, stories, and more.
The Gullah Grub Restaurant is dedicated to serving authentic Gullah food while also honoring traditions such as sustainable, local eating. If you’re in Beaufort, stop by for a delicious bite!
Built on St. Helena Island, the Penn School was the first school in the American South dedicated to teaching Black students (including freed, formerly enslaved Gullah children) and has served as a community center in the years since. Often used as a center for civil rights conferences and organizations such as the NAACP, SCLC, and SNCC, the center was visited several times by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974.
Click below to pre-order your trade paperback edition of The Last Dreamwalker, available 8.15.23!