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The Crimson and Gold Connection with Juliet Patterson, Author of Sinkhole; A Legacy of suicide

Pittsburg State University kicks off a week of literary- and writer-related events on Sunday, September 17 and goes through Friday, September 22.

This year’s WritersFest spotlights two authors—Tracy Brimhall, Kansas Poet Laureate and Juliet Patterson, author of Sinkhole—A Legacy of Suicide.

All events are free and open to the public.

Extended conversation with author Juliet Patterson


Since the 2022 launch of the national suicide prevention lifeline over 5 million telephone calls have been answered, two million more than the previous year. A new book examines suicide and its generational effects.

KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

The memoir Sinkhole was a finalist for the 2023 Minnesota Book Award. It was also named one of the best memoirs of 2022 by Library Journal. It is a simple, powerful read where author Juliet Patterson exposes herself, dissects the relationship with her parents, and grieves after her 70-year-old father committed suicide in 2008.

Both of Patterson’s parents are from Pittsburg, KS, they later relocated to Minnesota before she was born but as an adult, she felt drawn back to the area to examine her family's histories and ties.

“I think for me I did want to share something about this place, Pittsburg, which feels deeply a part of me, in a strange way. But I had also read many books about suicide and many literary books about suicide.”

Patterson would discover after her father’s suicide that both of her grandparents had died the same way, she maps the generational waves it had on both of her parents and how it affected her upbringing.

Patterson has numerous scheduled events as a part of Pittsburg State’s 2023 WriterFest that starts this Sunday, September 17, and runs through Friday, September 22. All events are open to the public.

Since 2017 Fred Fletcher-Fierro has driven up Highway 171 through thunderstorms, downpours, snow, and ice storms to host KRPS’s Morning Edition. He’s also a daily reporter for the station, covering city government, elections, public safety, arts, entertainment, culture, sports and more. Fred has also spearheaded and overseen a sea change in programming for KRPS from a legacy classical station to one that airs a balance of classical, news, jazz, and cultural programming that better reflects the diverse audience of the Four States. For over two months in the fall of 2022 he worked remotely with NPR staff to relaunch to an NPR style news and information website.

In the fall of 2023 Fred was promoted to Interim General Manager and was appointed GM in Feburary of 2024.