In this episode, we feature novelist Ash Davidson in conversation with writer and educator, Jacqueline Fitzgerald. The event took place at the Portland Book Festival in November 2021.
The novel, Damnation Spring, by Davidson was one of the most anticipated and celebrated books of 2021. It takes place in 1977 in the Pacific Northwest, near the end of the era when the timber industry dominated the region, and a nascent environmental movement is just beginning to take root. A fissure runs through the Gunderson family that threatens their way of life and their very identity. And Damnation Spring’s themes and tensions around timber, the environment, the needs of community to have work and to have their health, are so deeply resonant with the recent history here in Oregon and the greater Pacific Northwest.
In this conversation, we hear about Davidson’s ten-year journey writing the novel including the how she synthesized the massive amount of research that went into it, how she approached the political nature of her subject, and about her own background growing up in remote parts of this country.
Ash Davidson was born in Arcata, California, and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has been supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts and MacDowell. Her debut novel is Damnation Spring. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Jacqueline Fitzgerald is a transformation coach, educator, and artist who centers healing, creativity, and embodied equity to cultivate collective belonging. After over a decade of experience as a teacher and facilitator in Portland area public schools, Jacque brings a trauma-informed, joyful, and loving approach to her values re-alignment work. Her writing has been published in The Oregonian, The Learning Network of the New York Times, and Beacon Magazine. Currently she is recording her debut album under the artist name Echo Onda.