Join us as we welcome Season Butler and Joanna Pocock to read from and discuss their recent books.
CYGNET by Season Butler
It’s too hot for most of the clothes I packed to come here, when I thought this would only be for a week or two. My mother kissed me with those purple-brown lips of hers and said, we’ll be back, hold tight.
The Kid doesn’t know where her parents are. They left with a promise to come back months ago, and now their seventeen-year-old daughter is stranded on Swan Island.
Swan isn’t just any island; it is home to an eccentric old age separatist community who have shunned life on the mainland for a haven which is rapidly sinking into the ocean. The Kid’s arrival threatens to burst the idyllic bubble that the elderly residents have so carefully constructed – an unwelcome reminder of the life they left behind, and one they want rid of.
Cygnet is the story of a young woman battling against the thrashing waves of loneliness and depression, and how she learns to find hope, laughter and her own voice in a world that’s crumbling around her.
Season Butler is a writer, artist and dramaturg born in Washington, DC. Through her work, she explores her interest in identity and otherness, the opportunities and traps of hindsight and hope, and what it means to look forward to an increasingly wily future. An early draft of Cygnet was shortlisted for the SI Leeds Prize for unpublished fiction by Black and Asian Women. She lives and works between London and Berlin.
SURRENDER by Joanna Pocock
Blending memoir with reportage, criticism with nature writing, Surrender is a narrative non-fiction work on the changing landscape of the American West, inspired by a two-year stay in Montana. At a time of personal crisis, after losing her parents and beginning menopause, Joanna Pocock becomes fascinated with radical environmental movements. She witnesses the annual tribal bison hunt near Yellowstone Park, where she meets a scavenger community honing ancestral skills. She joins Finisia Medrano, a transsexual rewilder, to learn about life on the Hoop. She attends the Ecosex Convergence, an annual gathering of people who place their relationship with the earth above everything else. With Surrender, the winner of the 2018 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize, Joanna Pocock offers a provocative and profound examination of life in an era of increasing climatic disruption.
Joanna Pocock is an Irish-Canadian writer living in London. Her essays, reviews, and travel pieces have appeared in Distinctly Montana, Litro, Sunday Independent, Los Angeles Times, the Nation, Orion, Tahoma Literary Review, 3:AM and on the Dark Mountain blog. In 2017, she was shortlisted for the Barry Lopez Narrative Nonfiction Prize, and won the 2018 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize for Surrender. She teaches creative writing at the University of the Arts in London and works as a freelance editor for a variety of publishers.