The Personal And the Political: Writing the Social Protest Novel

**Watch the recording here**

The American social protest novel inhabits a unique place in the literary landscape, but can it thrive in today’s rapidly changing and often toxic political climate? Is the social protest novel dead, or more vital than ever? Can novels provoke change or simply reflect on it?

Four authors of contemporary protest fiction read from their work and discuss how elements of craft and context can combine activist themes with a compelling character-driven narrative.

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Sanderia Faye serves on the faculty at Southern Methodist University, and is a professional author, speaker, activist and sommelier. Her novel, Mourner’s Bench, is the winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in debut fiction, The Philosophical Society of Texas Award of Merit for fiction, and The 2017 Arkansas Library Association, Arkansiana Award. She is the founder and host of LitNight Dallas Reading Series. Sanderia is working on her second novel, Eleven.





Tina Egnoski is a poet and fiction writer. Her novel, Burn Down This World, is set against the backdrop of anti-Vietnam War student protests in the early 1970s. She's also the author of the short story collection You Can Tell Me Anything and the novella In the Time of the Feast of Flowers, winner of the Clay Reynolds Prize. She's received literature fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Colorado Arts Council. She is a GrubStreet Providence instructor and leads community-based writing workshops. A Florida native, she currently lives in Rhode Island.












Andrew Altschul is the author of the novels The Gringa, Deus Ex Machina, and Lady Lazarus. His short fiction and essays have appeared in Esquire, McSweeney's, The Wall Street JournalPloughsharesFenceOne Story, and other publications, and in anthologies including Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best New American Voices, and O. Henry Prize Stories. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford, he has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, the Ucross Foundation, and the Fundación Valparaíso. He is a contributing editor at ZYZZYVA and directs the Creative Writing program at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins.








Ellen Meeropol is the author of the novels Her Sister’s TattooKinship of Clover, On Hurricane Island, and House Arrest, and recent essays and short stories published in SolsticeLilith, Ms. Magazine, Guernica, Lit Hub, and Mom Egg Review. Her work has been honored by the Women’s National Book Association, the Massachusetts Center for the Book, PBS NewsHour, the American Book Fest, and Publishers Weekly. A founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild, Ellen coordinates their Social Justice Writing project.

Event date: 
Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
86 Cottage Street
Easthampton, MA 01027
Mourner's Bench: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781557286789
Published: University of Arkansas Press - September 1st, 2015

At the First Baptist Church of Maeby, Arkansas, the sins of the child belonged to the parents until the child turned thirteen.

The Gringa Cover Image
ISBN: 9781612198224
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Published: Melville House - March 10th, 2020

A gripping and subversive novel about the slippery nature of truth and the tragic consequences of American idealism …

Her Sister's Tattoo Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597098441
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Published: Red Hen Press - April 7th, 2020

"Meeropol succeeds in creating and sustaining the kind of tension we expect to find in a mystery novel...Her Sister's Tattoo is all about a family with a multigenerational passion for political activism, but the narrator's voice is always clear and calm.

This Invisible Beauty Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635342178
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This book cannot be returned to Book Moon.
Published: Finishing Line Press - May 5th, 2017

This Invisible Beauty is a series of poems about the life of writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Rawlings moved to the hamlet of Cross Creek, Florida, in 1928. She and her husband bought a farmhouse in the middle of a seventy-four-acre citrus orchard. They planned to simplify their lives, earning an income from the sale of citrus, while Marjorie continued her writing career.

Perishables Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780982636411
Published: Black Lawrence Press - November 30th, 2010

In the Time of the Feast of Flowers Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781933896694
Published: Texas Review Press - January 9th, 2012

Small-town Florida, 1976. Life is squeaky-clean. Nothing ever happens here and if it does, the only response is a polite smile.  Sensible Abby Newman is best friends with free-spirit Dana Massey.  Seventeen and restless, they set out to defy the town motto: Hear, Speak, See No Evil. They smoke, drink, push the boundaries of sexual exploration, and break into neighborhood houses.

Lady Lazarus Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780151014842
Published: Mariner Books - April 14th, 2008

**DEBUT FICTION** This spectacular, sprawling debut novel tells the story of Calliope Bird Morath, daughter of legendary punk-rock star Brandt Morath—whose horrific suicide devastated the world—and his notorious wife, Penelope. 

The novel is narrated by both Calliope and her obsessive biographer, who follows her from her silent childhood to her first tortured, man

Deus Ex Machina Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781582436012
Published: Counterpoint LLC - February 1st, 2011

On a distant island, reality show contestants battle for bragging rights and a slot on next week's episode. They've perfected their dramatic roles and are prepared to do whatever it takes to win. There's the take-no-prisoners Marine sergeant, the gay hairdresser, the ruthless lawyer, the brainy poet.

House Arrest Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597094184
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Published: Red Hen Press - September 15th, 2014

Kinship of Clover Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597093811
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Published: Red Hen Press - April 4th, 2017

***Named one of the 7 best books from indie publishers right now in 2017 by PBS

From the author of House Arrest and On Hurricane Island comes a thrilling new activist novel that begs the question, "How far is too far?"

On Hurricane Island Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597093002
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Published: Red Hen Press - March 3rd, 2015

As a major hurricane threatens the northeast, math professor Gandalf Cohen is abducted by federal agents and flown to a secret interrogation center off the coast of Maine. Austin Coombs, a young local resident, is a newly hired civilian guard assigned to the detention center.