Madeline ffitch co founded the punk theater company Missoula Oblongata and is part of the direct-action collective Appalachia Resist! Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Guernica, Granta, VICE, and Electric Literature, among other publications. She is the author of the story collection Valparaiso, Round the Horn. Her debut novel, Stay and Fight, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on July 9, 2019.
I Found Home in a Hopeless Place
In Madeline Ffitch's Stay and Fight, three women and an infant live together on an Appalachian homestead. When Perley grows up and decides he wants to attend public school, the family faces new and scarier challenges. Tupelo Hassman's gods with a little g follows motherless teen Helen through her junior year of high school. The novel is set in the tiny California town of Rosary where the internet is blocked, and the teens have to rely on radio call-in shows from the neighboring town of Sky to gain knowledge of the outside world.
David Russell is a librarian, bookseller, and storyteller who is thankful to live in Georgia after spending 28 years in the Buffalo area. He hosted Stories On The Square at Kavarna in Decatur for 7 years. He has performed at Naked City, Carapace, Write Club Atlanta, The Moth, Stories On The Edge Of Night, and Story Spot at Dad’s Garage. He won his first storytelling award at the age of 9 and has been addicted ever since.
Stay and Fight
Helen arrives in Appalachian Ohio full of love and her boyfriend’s ideas for living off the land. Too soon, with winter coming, he calls it quits. Helped by Rudy—her government-questioning, wisdom-spouting, seasonal-affective-disordered boss—and a neighbor couple, Helen makes it to spring. Those neighbors, Karen and Lily, are awaiting the arrival of their first child, a boy, which means their time at the Women’s Land Trust must end. So Helen invites the new family to throw in with her—they’ll split the work and the food, build a house, and make a life that sustains them, if barely, for years. Then young Perley decides he wants to go to school. And Rudy sets up a fruit-tree nursery on the pipeline easement edging their land. The outside world is brought clamoring into their makeshift family. Set in a region known for its independent spirit, Stay and Fight shakes up what it means to be a family, to live well, to make peace with nature and make deals with the system. It is a protest novel that challenges our notions of effective action. It is a family novel that refuses to limit the term. And it is a marvel of storytelling that both breaks with tradition and celebrates it. Best of all, it is full of flawed, cantankerous, flesh-and-blood characters who remind us that conflict isn’t the end of love, but the real beginning. Absorbingly spun, perfectly voiced, and disruptively political, Madeline ffitch’s Stay and Fight forces us to reimagine an Appalachia—and an America—we think we know. And it takes us, laughing and fighting, into a new understanding of what it means to love and to be free.