How George Dawes Greene's The Moth Reinvented Storytelling

The novelist talks about The Kingdoms of Savannah and creating The Moth.


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William Faulkner once famously wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

A similar sensibility pervades the work of The Kingdoms of Savannah, is set in his native Georgia and features a great contemporary update of Faulkner's themes. He is also the creator of the massively popular event series, radio show, and podcast The Moth, which has redefined personal storytelling in the digital age. Born in 1954, Green has published three previous novels, including The Juror and The Caveman's Valentine, both of which were turned into movies. He also ran a company that sold clothes made from rare fabrics handwoven in Guatemala.

The Kingdoms of Savannah is set in the contemporary South and features an old-line aristocratic family whose fortunes and members have dissipated over the years, in part because of hidden secrets and an inability to move on. At the start of the novel, there's a murder that implicates the power structure of Savannah, and the result is a page-turning thriller about race, class, and American history.

Green appeared at a recent Reason Speakeasy, a live, monthly, unscripted conversation with outspoken defenders of free thinking and heterodoxy in an era of conformity and groupthink. He talks with Nick Gillespie about his experiences on the frontier of creative expression and the ways in which the past doggedly informs the present, whether in his native Georgia or post-COVID New York City.

They also discuss how he came to create The Moth, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary and has become nothing less than a global phenomenon.