About Donna Drew Sawyer

Donna Drew Sawyer is a proud native New Yorker and that is where she began her love affair with the arts. From a very young age, her culture-loving mother exposed her to New York’s myriad of cultural experiences. That early introduction to the arts became Sawyer’s passion and led to a career in arts administration for renowned institutions including the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Charlotte North Carolina’s Arts and Science Council, and the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Working in the arts Donna discovered fertile creative ground—every work of art, artist, exhibition, institution, and patron had a story. So, Donna decided to see if she could learn to write about her experiences in the art world by taking a class at the Bethesda Writers Center. Advanced Fiction Writing was the only class still accepting students. To be considered, each student had to submit a 35-page excerpt from their work in progress. Donna did not have a work of fiction in progress, and she had never written fiction before. Undeterred, Donna urgently drafted the 35 pages that got her into the class. Eight years and several other writing classes later, those 35 pages became part of Sawyer’s award-winning debut novel, Provenance.

Provenance won the 2017 Maryland Writers’ Association Annual Book Award for Historical Fiction. In the same year, her debut novel was a monthly pick for the 45 chapters of the “Go On Girl Book Club” and, was a finalist for “Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction” at the Harlem Book Fair. Provenance was featured at the Virginia Festival of the Book, the Gaithersburg Book Festival and, the Harlem Book Fair selling several thousand copies in its first year of publication.

Donna’s next work of fiction is Promise, a sequel to Provenance. She has written the first 35 pages—along with another 145 pages to complete the manuscript and is currently shopping it to literary agents.

Praise for Provenance:

“Sawyer successfully explores the meaning of family in this multi-generational saga set in the world of high-end art. An often-memorable tale of love, loss and redemption.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Such a satisfying read. This page-turner has characters steeped in psychological depth, a setting rich with historical context and a narrative that explores the heart-wrenching evolution of racial identity in America. Sawyer has brought us some solid storytelling with this fine book. I didn’t want it to end!”
Karen Deans author of “Playing to Win” and “Swing Sisters”

“A terrific and timely story. I love the rich characters that are so individual and varied. All of their voices are unique and distinctive.” —Barbara Esstman, author of “The Other Anna” and “Night Ride Home”

Please use the form below to contact Donna with questions or comments or, to schedule an interview.

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