“Dawson’s Fall” author to speak



BAR HABROR — The Jesup Memorial Library, Northeast Harbor Library and the Southwest Harbor Public Library have announced an event with author Roxana Robinson planned for Friday, July 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Mount Desert Island High School.

Robinson will be speaking about her newest book “Dawson’s Fall,” which will be published in May.

In “Dawson’s Fall” Robinson uses the lives of her own great-grandparents to shape the fictional story of Frank Dawson, a newspaper editor in late 19th century Charleston, South Carolina. Actual letters and diary entries from Robinson’s great-grandparents as well as newspaper articles from the time period are collected alongside the prose, which tells Dawson’s life story.

After coming to America to fight for the Confederacy in a war he understood as a conflict over states’ rights, Dawson later became the editor of the Charleston News and Courier, finding a platform of real influence in the editorial column and emerging as a voice of the New South. But his anti-lynching stance loses him readers to a rival paper and he is plagued by financial worries.

Kirkus Reviews writes, “Though the story is set mainly in the 1880s, its themes are up-to-the-minute; Robinson uses lynchings, duels, and sexual assaults to shed light on populism and toxic masculinity.” The review describes the book as “stylish and contemplative.”

Frances FitzGerald, author of “The Evangelicals,” writes that Robinson uses her “novelistic grace” to make the story come to life, adding, “With a fine eye for detail, she describes the horrors of the post-war period of racism and violence they could not escape.” Publisher’s Weekly says, “Robinson’s descriptive and imaginative prose sings.”

Robinson is the author of five previous novels, including “Sparta” and “Cost;” three collections of short stories; and the biography “Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life.” Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Vogue, among other publications. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Four of her works have been chosen Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times, and she was named a Literary Lion by The New York Public Library. She was president of the Authors Guild from 2014 to 2017. She teaches in the Hunter College MFA program and divides her time between New York, Connecticut and Maine. She has twice won the Maine Writers and Publishers Award for Fiction.

Books will be on sale that night courtesy of co-sponsor Sherman’s Books. Visit www.roxanarobinson.com.

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