"Here's to changes," Calvin said. He nearly knocked the bottle from Earl's hand when they clinked.  He downed half the beer in the first swig.
     "Let's burn one," he said. He shook out two cigarettes from the pack in his shirt pocket, handing one to Earl. He lit his own with a match and then blew it out. He leaned in close toward Earl and the tips of their cigarettes touched, one transferring its fire to the one that was not lit.
      Earl wasn't much of a smoker either.  He drew more deeply than he intended, coughed, and his head began to swim.
      "Big changes are coming," Calvin couldn't resist saying again. He had a way of holding his beer by just the neck of the bottle, with a deft rigging of three of his fingers. "Very soon."

      VALEDICTORY  is set at a university in New York in the 1980s during a student takeover that shuts down the campus for three weeks. Earl Castle is an ambitious senior trying to secure the prize of valedictorian. Brilliant and aloof, he cannot, however, stay completely above the turmoils roiling the university.
      Due to his affection for Calvin Reynolds, one of the student activists, Earl becomes an unwitting participant in the takeover, risking everything he has striven to achieve, and forcing him to choose between the nobility of his feelings for Calvin and his desire for the award he so dearly covets.
      Daniel Scott is the author of two books of fiction, Some of Us Have to Get Up in the Morning and Pay This Amount. He is the recipient of various grants and fellowships from sources such as the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. Born and raised on Boston's South Shore, he currently lives in New York City.
      "Valedictory is partly based on my experiences as a student at the City College of New York in the 1980s and β€˜90s," says Scott. "A lot happened during that time that greatly intrigued me as a writer.”
      β€œThe college was constantly being buffeted by one crisis or another. Professors made headlines with wildly controversial views on race. An oversold rap-star basketball game (organized in part by a then unknown promoter named Sean Combs) turned tragic when eight students died in a stampede. And the school was actually taken over at one point by student activists over a tuition hike and other issues. For three weeks no one could get in or out of the campus buildings. The university, the police, and the city were at a loss. A media frenzy kicked in. The cancellation of the semester - and the graduations of many - were threatened. Counter-protests ensued. I was not involved in the protests (though I did sympathize), but I kept imagining what it was like inside those buildings - what human dramas were playing out against the backdrop of the takeover. The idea gestated for a long while before I began to write about it. Valedictory is the result.”

Daniel Scott

Author of VALEDICTORY (Savant 2016)