The Personal And the Political: Writing the Social Protest Novel

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

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

This Invisible Beauty Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635342178
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Published: Finishing Line Press - May 5th, 2017

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

Lady Lazarus Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780151014842
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Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - April 14th, 2008

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

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

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