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Miners Hall Museum to host special program, book signing


FRANKLIN, Kan. — A program and book signing by Juliet Patterson, author of Sinkhole – A Legacy of Suicide, will be held at Miners Hall Museum at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17. 

Patterson’s book, which deals with the legacy and inheritance of suicide in one American family, is also a deep look into her roots in the area. 

She visited and researched southeast Kansas, giving special interest to its abandoned mines and extensive undermining, as well as “sinkholes,” to gather historical evidence and imagine the final days of her maternal and paternal grandfathers — one a fiery pro-labor politician and the other a melancholy businessman. Both died by their own hand, as did her father in Minneapolis.

The book provides a look at not only her family history in southeast Kansas, but also an outsider’s look at the unfolding story of immigration, coal mining, labor disputes, and commerce in the region.

Sinkhole was a finalist for the 2023 Minnesota Book Awards and was named one of the best memoirs of 2022 by Library Journal. 

As a community activist and artist, Patterson has worked on a number of collaborative projects related to place-making and the environment. She lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches creative writing and literature at St. Olaf College and is director of the college’s Environmental Conversations program.

The event is free to the public. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

The event is being held in conjunction with Pitt State WritersFest and is co-sponsored by the Pittsburg State University's Women's Studies Lecture Series, Distinguished Visiting Writers Series, and the Student Fee Council.

Patterson will also be reading from her book at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19 on the PSU campus Overman Student Center. The reading is free and open to the public.

Miners Hall Museum is located at 701 S. Broadway (business 69 Highway) Franklin, Kansas. For more information, call 620-347-4220, or email [email protected].