Topeka, Kan. –  The Washburn University Center for Kansas Studies (the Center) will honor Kansas Day 2023 with the annual Kansas Day Lecture 7 – 8 p.m. Jan.26. This year the Center invites the public to an evening with Juliet Patterson, author of “Sinkhole: A Legacy of Suicide” (Milkweed Editions, September 2022). Patterson will be giving the lecture titled: "What's Hidden Beneath: A Writer's Exploration into Grief" via Zoom. This lecture is free and the public is welcome. Register for the Zoom lecture here: Please note  that this lecture will contain references to suicide, which some individuals may find distressing.

      People are also invited to join the Center in room 203 in the Henderson Learning Resources Center on the Washburn University campus to watch the Zoom lecture. Kansas Day cake will be served and copies of “Sinkhole” will be available for purchase.

- When: 7 – 8 p.m. Jan. 26
- Where: Zoom or room 203 in the Henderson Learning Resources Center on the Washburn University campus
- Register:


      With three generations of her family (on both sides) having roots in Pittsburg, Kan., Patterson visited the southeast corner of the state often during her writing process, unearthing the legacy of suicide in her family. In Pittsburg, she also encountered the visible legacy of Pittsburg's mining history - the sinkholes serving as a metaphor in a story that richly layers personal, familial, political and environmental histories to provide not answers but essential, heartbreaking truth.

      Highlighting Washburn’s spring 2023 WUmester theme of health and healing, Patterson will discuss how writing about her family's history allowed her to explore and reflect on grief. WUmester is intended to foster a university-wide conversation on a topic related to social justice that changes each spring semester. The goal of the program is to engage the entire Washburn community in a cross-disciplinary learning experience on timely subjects and help students see the connections between the subjects they study in the classroom and real-world debates and problems.

      In addition to “Sinkhole,” Patterson is the author of two full-length poetry collections, “Threnody” and “The Truant Lover” from Nightboat Books. A recipient of an Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize in non-fiction, and a Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize, she has also been awarded fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Minneapolis-based Creative Community Leadership Institute. She teaches creative writing and literature at St. Olaf College and is also a faculty member of the college’s Environmental Conversations program.

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For further information, contact:
Joy Bailes
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Office: 785-670-2153
Cell: 785-230-1648
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