Save the Drowning Child is a collection that explores place, power, and the way collective trauma trickles down through history and families. These stories bridge the author's African American Studies scholarship and love for language. Set against the North Florida landscape, the collection moves readers across time and begs one question again and again: how does one reconcile characters' deplorable choices with the horrific reality of their lives within the Diaspora. On the outskirts of Nassau County, a pig farmer and his wife face addiction and starvation during the Great Depression, but the return of an estranged daughter might signal their end or a new beginning. In the backwoods of 1960 Alachua County, an ambitious paralegal bears witness to something impossible and terrifying. In the title story, set in 1901 Jacksonville, a young girl tries to prevent the worst after her sister throws her infant niece into the Saint Johns River. This historical fiction collection draws on traditional elements of Southern Gothic, horror, and magical realism to explore the impacts of colonialism and the Maafa[1] on the North Florida region and its Black and Brown peoples. [1]: Swahili term for "Disaster", used to refer to the Black African Holocaust; this includes but is not limited to the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the cultural and physical genocide of Black and African peoples, the historic and continued enslavement of Africans on the African Continent, and the diasporic and cultural fallout in the aftermath of these atrocities. The Maafa refers to the ongoing erasure of Blackness, the ongoing devaluing of Black peoples, and the psychological impact of this collective trauma on both the perpetrators and victims of anti-Black violence.


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Graduation Date





Poissant, David


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program

Creative Writing


CFE0009498; DP0027500





Release Date

May 2023

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Included in

Fiction Commons