Interview with Baggage Authors - OH 750


Dr. O. Jennifer Dixon-McKnight



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This interview was conducted by Dr. O. Jennifer Dixon-McKnight with Alan Mulak, Susan Pascucci, and Donna Smith, co-authors of the novel Baggage (2021). The three writers reflect on the creative journey of writing a book during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the novel became a medium to escape the confines of quarantine. In addition, each share their experiences amid the pandemic and the critical year 2020, particularly as retired Americans living in the Sun City Carolina Lakes community of Indian Land, SC. Notable topics of conversations include social isolation, health protocols (vaccination, social distancing, etc.), and the virtualization of everyday life (Zoom, online shopping, etc.). They also discuss issues like education, political polarization, and social unrest.

Alan R. Mulak (b. 1950), a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, is a writer, retired civil engineer, and U.S. Navy veteran who has resided in Sun City since 2016-17. Susan “Sue” Pascucci (b. 1940), a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a creative writer and retired English teacher who moved to Sun City in 2011. Donna Barnes Smith (b. 1947), a native of Hampton, Virginia, is a retired educator and former U.S. Navy education liaison. She moved to Sun City in 2014. All three are contributors to the Living@ Sun City Carolina Lakes magazine.

Spearheaded by Dr. Dixon-McKnight, an Assistant Professor of History and African American studies at Winthrop University, Project 2020 is best summarized in her words: “The goal was to conduct interviews that explored the various ways in which Americans were experiencing and being impacted by the various watershed moments that emerged during 2020 (the global pandemic, social unrest, financial challenges, issues with healthcare, etc.)."

Publication Date


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OH 750


M4A; MP4




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COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020, Creative Writing, Social Isolation, Vaccination, Social Unrest, Virtualization, Education, Sun City Carolina Lakes

Interview with Baggage Authors - OH 750