Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn - "Loose of Earth" - Dan Raeburn

Friday, May 10, 2024 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn

Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn will discuss Loose of Earth. She will be joined in conversation by Dan Raeburn. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

Presented in partnership with UChicago Program in Creative Writing

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the Book: Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn was the oldest of five children, a twelve-year-old from Lubbock, Texas, whose evangelical family eschewed public education for homeschooling, and wove improbable scientific theories into literal interpretations of the Bible. Then her father, a former air force pilot, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of thirty-eight, and, “it was like throwing gasoline on the Holy Spirit.” Stirred by her mother, the family committed to an extreme diet and sought deliverance from equally extreme sources: a traveling tent preacher, a Malaysian holy man, a local faith-healer who led services called “Miracles on 34th Street.”

What they didn’t know at the time was that their lives were entangled with a larger, less visible environmental catastrophe. Fire-fighting foams containing carcinogenic compounds had contaminated the drinking water of every military site where her father worked. Commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” the presence of PFAS in West Texas besieged a landscape already burdened with vanishing water, taking up residence in wells and in the bloodstreams of people who lived there. An arresting portrait of the pernicious creep of decline, and a powerful cry for environmental justice, Loose of Earth captures the desperate futility and unbending religious faith that devastated a family, leaving them waiting for a miracle that would never come.

About the Author: Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn teaches in the University of Chicago Creative Writing Program. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in Colorado Review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, and swamp pink, and was listed as notable in Best American Essays.

About the Interlocutor: Dan Raeburn is the author of Chris Ware, a book of art criticism, and Vessels: A Love Story, a memoir. His essays have also appeared in The New Yorker, The Baffler, Tin House, and in The Imp, his series of booklets about underground cartoonists. Raeburn has been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, the Howard Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives with his wife and daughters in Chicago, where he teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Chicago.

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op
5751 S Woodlawn
Chicago, IL 60615