San Antonio Book Festival - Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn
Courtesy of Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn
Book Festival Author

Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn

Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn is a lecturer at the University of Chicago Creative Writing program. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in Bellingham Review, Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, and River Teeth, and was listed as notable in Best American Essays. Her debut book is Loose of Earth: A Memoir.

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Book by Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn

  •  Loose of Earth: A Memoir by Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn

    Loose of Earth: A Memoir

    An arresting memoir of love and unbending religion, toxicity and disease, and one family’s desperate wait for a miracle that never came.

    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.

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