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Here Comes the Bride
Daisy Maryles, with Dick Donahue -- 3/9/98
In February 1995, Doubleday published The Wedding by Dorothy West, the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance. It was her first novel in 47 years, one which might never have come to pass but for the determination of the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who sought out West during one of the ladies' summers on Martha's Vineyard. Last year, with 80,000 hardcover copies in print (plus another 130,000 sold of the Anchor trade paper edition), the rights to the novel were sold to Oprah Winfrey's Harpo productions. An additional 140,000 Anchor copies were printed in support of the two-part TV movie, which aired last month, garnering glowing reviews and impressive ratings -- and propelling West's novel onto PW's trade paperback list. The author, who turned 90 late last summer, was feted in grand style in Martha's Vineyard's Oak Bluffs community. Jessye Norman sang, Hillary Clinton proclaimed West "a national treasure" and a street was named in her honor. In a tragic twist of fate, media coverage was obliterated by an event that occurred the day after West's birthday: the car crash that claimed the life of Princess Diana.

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