Deborah Kalb Books

Q&A with Jessica DuLong

September 11, 2021

Q: Why did you decide to write Saved at the Seawall?

A: I came quite reluctantly to writing this book. When an editor encouraged me to document the boat lift, I was wary of immersing myself in the details of one of the darkest single days in American history.

Only after years of avoiding any discussion of my time at Ground Zero did I finally make my peace with the human need for September 11 stories.

I had feared that confining these events within words would dull the sharp edges of the experience, boxing them up within the limits of language. Yet, I also felt a deep responsibility to my maritime community, and to history itself, to document this landmark event.

Over time, I recognized that the importance of preserving this history outweighed my need to fend off the anguish of this material—both others’ and my own.