Freedom, Civil Rights, Vietnam and Drugs: Tilt 68 Author Explores Issues of the ’60s
From Vietnam to The Pill, from fraternity parties to Existentialism, the novel Tilt 68 brings the late 1960s to life through the profound changes experienced by one Southern woman who dares to look at her own life with open eyes. Sarah Colton, author of Tilt 68, shared her stories with the USC Upstate campus this Spring when she spoke to several classes and gave an author lecture.
“USC Upstate students don’t often have the opportunity to meet a living writer in the flesh, so it was a great delight for them to have one on campus,” said Dr. Thomas McConnell, associate professor of English. “The chance to pitch your questions to someone who’s already been through and conquered the challenges you’re facing as a young writer is a real privilege. Luckily, we had the benefit of Sarah Colton’s wisdom.”
Colton says she always knew she would write a novel. Following her graduation from UNC Chapel Hill in 1971, she worked as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill for one year before cashing in all her savings, and moving to Europe with nothing but a small canvas suitcase stuffed with dreams of adventure. What she didn’t realize was that the novel would be 20 years in the making.
“I began writing a series of essays centered around a burning question which had troubled me for more than two decades: ‘What happened to me during my first two years of college (the years 1967 to 1969)?’ Somehow, it seems that I had entered them as one person and emerged as someone fundamentally different. So did most of my friends. What happened to us? How could we and an entire society have changed so drastically in such a short time?” asked Colton.
Tilt 68 is a novel grounded in the energy and icons of the 1960s and tells the story of Louisa Ellington, an 18-year old freshman at a Southern women’s college. Louisa is a coed when the sudden and widespread availability of The Pill thrusts unprecedented freedom on an entire generation of women—all within the context of the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War and the arrival of drugs on campus.
“Tilt 68 will speak to any reader who has ever challenged authority and wrestled with the conflicting doubts and convictions unleashed by power shifts along the elemental fault-lines of life: sex, politics, race, religion and war,” said Colton.
A native of North Carolina, Colton now divides her time between Asheville and Paris. Although Tilt 68 is Colton’s first novel, her articles and fiction have appeared in publications such as Glamour and Redbook and the short-story anthology They Only Laughed Later.