Revolutionary Fictions: Who wins?
By Patricia Jean Browne
Revolutions are fought, constitutions are crafted, countries are founded, but who wins? Not ordinary folk, not women, not the indigenous, not the enslaved, not the poor. How can we know the stories of those who don’t win? Why are their stories important? Historical fiction can tell the forgotten truths of the disenfranchised, those of ordinary people who struggle for autonomy in a violent world and whose lives implode as they are seduced to take sides, even as they gain nothing.
PEN 2015 series
“Revolutionary Fictions: Who Wins?”
Tue, Jan 27, 6pm
Bellas Artes Auditorium
Hernández Macías 75
Fiction can be a powerful vehicle for reexamining what we were never taught in school and what is not emphasized in the historical record. Reinterpretations of our past can profoundly inform our present understanding of, and struggle for, equitable protections of human rights.
Christine Wade’s Seven Locks: a novel (Atria Books, Simon & Schuster 2013) ignores the founding fathers, and instead of dwelling directly on the events of July 4, 1776, and their aftermath, delves deeply into the mind and circumstance of one woman who lives on the American frontier at the end of the 18th Century. Seven Locks is a tactile evocation of life and times in the historical Hudson River Valley, where the lines between myth and reality fade in the wilderness beyond the small towns, while an American nation struggles to emerge. Kirkus Reviews called the novel “a spellbinding depiction of the hardships faced by a woman fighting her own war of independence.”
Wade is a researcher and writer who fell in love with the Hudson River when she attended Bard College; she has lived on its shores in New York City and the Catskill Mountains ever since. Seven Locks, her first novel, won a James Jones Fellowship Award for an unpublished novel in 2009, received an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Langum Prize for Historical Fiction which recognizes both excellent literature and excellent history, and was named the Best Historical Fiction of 2013 by USA BOOK News.
Wade’s talk is the third in the 2015 PEN programs chosen to further PEN International’s mission, promoting freedom of expression around the world. The local center, San Miguel PEN, raises money with the series for endangered writers around the world and local projects promoting literacy.
The event is in the Bellas Artes auditorium at 6pm on January 27. Tickets are 100 pesos and include a free glass of wine with supper at Vivali’s, Hernández Macías 66 after the program.