- This event has passed.
Storytelling As Advocacy In The Beloved Community at A Room of One’s Own
May 18 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pmFree
Madison-based author Tegan Nia Swanson’s 2022 debut novel, Things We Found When The Water Went Down, starts with the basic elements of a murder mystery: a body, the cops, a suspect. From there, Swanson spirals into the tangled lore of a family and a place. The decaying mine town of Beau Caelais and the Inland Sea it sits on are familiar stand-ins for any number of post-industrial places along the Great Lakes. The map Swanson provides in the book will also remind Madisonians of a less-great but still beloved lake.
Swanson fills this setting with an uncanny blend of small-town grudges and righteously wrathful magic. As teenage protagonist Lena Abernathy tries to understand why her mother was arrested for the murder (then escaped from jail and disappeared), she uncovers her share of petty human secrets, but connects with forces far more vast and terrible and beautiful. Swanson’s non-linear storytelling approach lets the reader get richly immersed in the book’s overlapping themes: deep-seated cultures of misogynist violence, environmental degradation, and the resilient chosen families queer people build in a hostile world.
That’s all just a hint of the depths, and the depths beyond the depths, that the novel explores. Things We Found When The Water Went Down reads like a scrapbook of its own mythology. Between passages that Lena narrates in first-person, other characters leave behind interview transcripts, newspaper clippings, cryptic notes, stately poetic declarations. It’s an approach that may gradually draw in readers who enjoy fantasy novels, or immersive piece-together-the-story video games like Gone Home and What Remains Of Edith Finch.
At this event, a fundraiser for Freedom Inc. and UNIDOS (a Madison non-profit serving Latino survivors of domestic violence), Swanson will take part in a panel discussion with Freedom Inc.’s Jessica Williams, UNIDOS’ Virginia Gittens Escudero, and City of Madison Poet Laureate Angela Trudell Vasquez. Swanson and Vasquez also both work at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. The panel, titled “Storytelling As Advocacy In The Beloved Community,” will likely draw connections between the novel’s exploration of violence against women and all the panelists’ day-to-day work.
On May 18, a Room of One’s Own will also be donating 10 percent of all its in-store and online sales to Freedom Inc. and UNIDOS.
Shows, screenings, and other cultural events around town, selected and previewed by Tone Madison’s writers and editors. Plus, info on upcoming Tone Madison-hosted events.
Please note: This is a small, picky calendar. It is not a comprehensive calendar. If you are looking for one, we strongly recommend visiting our friends at Madison Minutes.
Submit events for consideration to [email protected]; please include all of the acts involved in the event, date, venue, showtime, ticket information, and any other information you think we should know. Send this information at least three weeks before the date of the event. We try to give everything fair consideration, but we do not and cannot preview all events, and we do not run submitted promotional copy.