You know her best for her roles as Harriet DeLong on the drama, In the Heat of the Night, opposite the late, Carroll O’Connor and as Guidance Counselor, Liz
McIntyre on hit series, Room 222. She has guest starred on more television shows
than we have time to name and appeared in films with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier.
Along the way, she has received two Golden Globe nominations, two Emmy Awards,
three NAACP Image Awards, been honored by Morgan State University and Harvard University where she has performed.
Her novel, Freshwater Road (Pocketbooks), a coming of age story set
against the sprawling backdrop of the civil rights movement, received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, was a Books Sense Pick and was included in the Best Books of 2005
by the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, New
York Newsday and the Chicago Tribune. The novel was selected by Chicago Mayor
Richard Daley for his citywide book club and went on to win the Zora Neal Hurston/
Richard Wright Award for Debut Fiction and the American Library Association’s
Black Caucus Award for Best First Novel.
In May 2008, Brown University presented a staged adaptation of the novel to full houses
and critical acclaim.
Denise has completed work on the screen adaptation of Freshwater Road and is
currently working on her second novel. She has written book reviews for the Washington
Post and is a contributor to the civil rights movement volume, Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC, published by the
University of Illinois Press.