82-year-old Henrico woman publishes four books during pandemic

Positively Richmond

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — There’s no doubt that the pandemic has brought months of isolation for many, including 82-year-old Dr. Daryl Dance. 

Dance studied english at Virginia State University and the University of Virginia before becoming a professor of English at the University of Richmond and VCU. So, it’s no surprise that Dance turned to what she knew best during this pandemic — writing. In 11 months, the 82-year-old has written and published four books. 

“Writing for me is an interesting procedure. You have to brainstorm, you have to configure, you have to put the pieces of the puzzle together,” she said. “While you’re doing that… you’re learning something about yourself all while doing the story.” 

Dance is well known across Central Virginia as a professor, genealogist, literary scholar, and folklorist.  However, during the pandemic, she spent hours writing three works of a fiction and a revised genealogy of a freed black family in Charles City County called “The Lineage of Abraham.” 

Her novel, “Till Death Us Did Part” explores issues of love, marriage, aging and death. 

“Senior citizens will all see something of themselves in this satirical and inspirational drama, but young adults and general readers will also find the novel a great read, a cautionary tale, and a guidebook,” said Dance. 

Dance also completed her first work of historical fiction. “Land of the Free… Negroes” uncovers the history of her own family of free Blacks in Charles City County, Virginia, as they struggle for survival, happiness, and respect in the Antebellum South. 

Dance’s third book, “Here Am I” includes a plethora of short stories mostly inspired by the pandemic. 

The 82-year-old said she is proud of the work she’s accomplished during this time and hopes her work during the pandemic can be inspiration.

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