The Literary Society of the Desert has hosted 15 major authors in our three year history and Dawn Tripp was my personal favorite. She is fully engaged with her audience, erudite but accessible, and Ms. Tripp did everything within her power to ensure that she met our organization’s objectives. She did not treat her presentation as an obligation, but an opportunity to personally enlighten and engage a new group regarding her subject, Georgia O’Keeffe. The only caveat —— she is a tough act to follow ! She sets such a high bar that it is difficult for others to reach.
Dawn spoke at our Book and Author Luncheon which is a major fundraiser for our women’s club (General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Women’s Club of South County). We are part of an all volunteer international organization that brings women together for philanthropic service, provisions of grants to local nonprofit agencies and educational scholarships to women in need. I knew during the first book signing segment that Dawn was a good fit. She was engaging, respectful and responsive to a long line of folks. She spoke to her writing process, the research, and choices one makes. Her passion for her characters was evident. She did not self promote and was very supportive of fellow authors. She was friendly and genuine. And what happened afterwards was telling. We had a strong slate of authors that year, including Dawn, and the next year we sold out 6 weeks before the event! It was our first sell-out at such an early date.
Dawn Tripp did an outstanding job of presenting her own research, scholarship and writing experience, while deftly referencing and responding to many points of interest. Very clever and adept. It was an impressive performance. Dawn was in command of her information and her narrative, and she brought a warmth and empathy that made it easy (and almost necessary) for the audience to connect with her and with her novel. Dawn spoke compellingly, easily, with authenticity and conviction. She seemed very natural, comfortable with her own passion for and understanding of the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and of her extremely challenging romantic relationship with Stieglitz, while also sharing some of her own impressive author’s journey. Dawn shares her intellect and her compassion when she speaks, and there is both generosity and authenticity in this, in how she shares with the audience. Dawn is herself an artist, with a wonderful metaphysical perception of the world. That is part of what makes for the great balance in an historical novel - there is both fact and fiction, and feeling. There is an otherness to Dawn, something vital and quite inspiring. Dawn was able to speak to her work with thoroughness and excitement, while also responding to questions from the audience. I thought this ability to pivot from one subject to another demonstrated her true knowledge, her preparedness, and her openness to her audience. She was both gracious and flexible in responding to questions. I was fascinated and educated by her talk.
Dawn mesmerized an audience of about one hundred fifty with her stories of “Georgia,” gracing us with her passion for the artist, for the writing (& rewriting) and for how the novel affected her own outlook on life. She took the time for connection and answering questions during the book signing, and made each audience member feel respected and valued. Dawn is a captivating and engaging speaker, especially eloquent and skilled with a high command of the English language. One of the comments I received says it all, “I have always remarked that it is statistically impossible to plan and execute the perfect event. Today I was proven wrong. Ms. Tripp was a treasure - informative, organized, and beautiful besides being brilliant.” You will not be taking a chance if Dawn speaks to your group. You will be guaranteed a successful event. I personally look forward to hiring her again.