Apr 22, 2014
10:50 AM
Arts & Entertainment

Authors' Luncheon Unites Esteemed Writers on Issue of Domestic Violence

Authors' Luncheon Unites Esteemed Writers on Issue of Domestic Violence

Roelof Bakker

Evie Wyld, author of "All The Birds, Singing," will speak at the luncheon.

This year’s 10th Annual Authors' Luncheon benefitting the Susan B. Anthony Project  will bring together three very different authors—in the subject matter of their novels, personal lives and countries of origin—for an in-depth discussion about domestic life and the issue of domestic violence.

The luncheon, which will be held at the Torrington Country Club on Saturday April 26, will be hosted by marketing executive and author Diane Meier and her husband, author and broadcaster Frank Delaney (both pictured below).

It is Meier’s vision that this annual fundraiser be something more than a space to meet famous authors—it should be an opportunity to bring awareness to the issues the Susan B. Anthony Project focuses on.

Last year, the “experiment” of selecting authors to talk about these issues proved successful. This year, Meier has lined up a diversified group in the hopes that they will shine a light on domestic violence as a universal issue.

An emphasis will be put on the fact that sexual and domestic violence is not just a women’s issue. It affects men, too–a point Delaney will be sure to make during his portion of the program.

A male client of the Susan B. Anthony Project who dealt with sexual abuse will also talk about his experience and discuss how the organization has helped him.

Men are encouraged to attend the luncheon. “[Men] are not only invited, they are expected,” says Meier. “They’re really going to find it heartening.”

Evie Wyld (top) is one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists and her latest novel, “All the Birds, Singing” is already gaining impressive attention. It has been named a Barnes & Noble Summer 2014 Discover Great New Writers selection and is an Indie Next List Great Read for May.

The novel tells the story of a woman named Jake who lives alone on an island off the coast of the United Kingdom. It explores her present and her past as a child in Australia.

“I was really interested in writing a female character who had been a victim of terrible things but who wasn't defined by that, who was active in a way we might not normally associate with female characters,” says Wyld.

She plans to explore the themes of her book during her talk at the luncheon, and what it was like for her to write a narrative that dealt with dark subject matter. “I'd like to talk about the process of writing about women who experience different sorts of violence at the hands of men, the cultural narratives that perpetuate this and what these characters do to escape,” she says.

“Since [Wyld’s] book is about a young woman with a violent past, her protagonist is a natural tie with [the Susan B. Anthony Project], the organization we are supporting,” says Meier.

“I would say that violence against women is something that has to be central to any conversation about men and women today,” says Wyld.

The British author will be joined by Dagmara Dominczyk (right), a Polish actress and first-time author of “The Lullaby of Polish Girls." Dominczyk describes her novel, which in some ways is based on her own experience as a Polish immigrant in New York City, as a "gritty coming-of-age story about three working-class Polish women and their journey to find their place in the world while dealing with loss—loss of home, identity, marriage and love, and loss of female friendship."

“Dag is a force of nature, and I know that she means to make this subject personal,” says Meier. "It is an important part of her wonderful book, but she clearly feels the weight of the subject, even beyond her novel.”

"Growing up in a blue-collar environment, I witnessed firsthand the tribulations of women who have struggled with emotional and physical abuse," Dominczyk explains. "We need to talk about it—talk about the ugly truth of this particular violence, which is not only rampant in economically burdened families but beyond. We need to make this issue a personal one, so that we can change women's lives for the better, women who cannot help their children or themselves. I am looking forward to being in a room with people whose goal it is to bring about such needed change."

The third panelist is esteemed author of nine novels, Hilma Wolitzer (below). She has taught at many places including New York University and The Iowa's Writer's WorkshopShe has been honored with fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters among others. 

Her latest novel, “An Available Man,” a departure for her in that it features a male protagonist, has been widely praised.

“While my own novel and two of the novels above deal with issues of physical violence and threats against females, Hilma's does not,” says Meier. “The reaction of reviewers and her public have been overwhelmingly positive toward her widower protagonist. I believe it is because the domestic nature of the book is something rarely, these days, addressed for men. And it in itself brings up very interesting questions and ideas about what is, in fact, domestic.” 

“I hope to speak about domestic life because it’s what I know best,” Wolitzer says of her portion of the program, “and because what happens in kitchens and bedrooms is more important than what happens in boardrooms and houses of state.”

The three novelists and two hosts come from very different places—Meier and Wolitzer from New York, Delaney from Ireland, Wyld from England and Dominczyk from Poland.

The hope is this panel of writers will contribute to the conversation of domestic abuse as a global issue.

“This is not just a problem in Torrington, not just in Litchfield County—it’s a problem all over the world and we need to deal with it,” says Meier.

With such an impressive lineup tickets have sold quickly, but there are still some left. Tickets cost $65 per person and can be purchased on the Susan B. Anthony Project’s website or by calling their office at 860-489-3798.

For more information on the Susan B. Anthony Project visit the website.

Contact me by email at khartman@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, on Facebook and on Google +

 

Authors' Luncheon Unites Esteemed Writers on Issue of Domestic Violence

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