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Westport Author Discusses New Novel at Weston Library

WESTON, Conn. – Charlotte Rogan, Westport author of “The Lifeboat,” discussed the novel and her writing philosophy at Lunch and Learn, an event sponsored Tuesday afternoon by the Friends of the Weston Library.

Rogan said it took her 10 years to write “The Lifeboat.” It's the story of how a 22-year-old woman survives three weeks on a lifeboat and the courtroom battle that followed after she was charged with murdering a companion on the boat.

She read a few passages from the book and devoted most of her talk to discussing truth in fiction. Paintings and photographs of shipwrecks and lifeboat scenes, including portrayals of the Titanic, were used to display Rogan’s ideas about fiction.

“Truth is not the same as certainty,” she said. But she believes “fiction can generate deeper truths and can better portray truth than nonfiction.”

She used works of nonfiction to research her novel, including 19th-century accounts of the prosecutions of sailors for killing other lifeboat passengers. They were killed as an act of cannibalism to feed the other passengers, which reveals “the moral dilemma of the lifeboat situation,” she said.

Nancy Hammerslough, a publisher from Weston, said Rogan “was one of the most articulate speakers about her book. I loved the book and what she had to say about it, which made the book even better.”

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