Thursday, June 27, 2019

Season Butler

Season Butler is a London-based writer, performance artist and teacher, and an associate producer of the I'm With You art collective.

Her new novel is Cygnet.

Recently I asked Butler about what she was reading. Her reply:
I’ve been thinking a lot – and writing a bit – about the idea of intergenerational conflict and the climate crisis, so I revisited Rachel Carson’s classic, Silent Spring. Carson’s brilliance comes through in her command of the diversity of her reader’s imagination, weaving together science, fable and reportage to illustrate the challenges facing humanity. Rachel Carson was close to the end of her life when Silent Spring was published in 1962 – though only 54 when it came out, she died of cancer two years later. While we often think of environmentalism as a youth movement (and young activists like Greta Thunberg and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez certainly deserve credit for the eloquence and energy they bring to the movement), it’s worth remembering that mass movements for social change happen across social divisions, in coalition, benefitting from experience and optimism alike.

I like to read one piece of fiction alongside one non-fiction, and The Farm by Joanne Ramos has me completely gripped. It’s a poignant look at commodification under late capitalism through the deeply personal experiences of motherhood and other kinds of “women’s” labour. It has been compared to Handmaid’s Tale, and I agree that it achieves a similarly potent social critique, but the work is totally original. I am devouring it.

My next read was recommended to me by the artist Liz Rosenfeld. The Motion of Light on Water is Samuel R Delany’s memoir, and Rosenfeld’s all-time favourite book. I’m expecting a personal reflection that is also a loving tour through New York City’s evolution from mid-century toward the millennium. I have loved Delany’s sci-fi and social critique (Times Square Red, Times Square Blue is among my all-time favourites), so I think I’ll be in for a treat with this one.
Visit Season Butler's website.

My Book, The Movie: Cygnet.

The Page 69 Test: Cygnet.

--Marshal Zeringue