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Stone-cold secrets: Caroline Patterson’s ‘The Stone Sister’

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This week, Lauren speaks with Missoula-based novelist Caroline Patterson, whose debut novel, The Stone Sister, is a fictionalized account of her own family’s history, of the sister she didn’t know she had—a sister who shares her name—and of the controversial institution that housed Montana’s abandoned children.

About Caroline:

Caroline Patterson is the author of The Stone Sister, Ballet at the Moose Lodge, and two children's books on the natural world. She edited the literary anthology, Montana Women Writers: A Geography of the Heart. Her short fiction and essays have been published in journals including Epoch, Outside, Southwest Review, and Seventeen, and have been included in anthologies including A Million Acres, Montana Noir, Bright Bones, and The New Montana Story. A graduate of the University of Montana creative writing program in fiction, Caroline was awarded the Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Fiction at Stanford University, the Joseph Henry Jackson Prize from the San Francisco Foundation, a Vogelstein Foundation Award, and the Montana Arts Council Fellowship. She’s received residencies at Ucross, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Ragdale. She is currently the executive director of the Missoula Writing Collaborative, which places writers to teach creative writing in more than 34 elementary schools in rural, urban, and reservation schools across western Montana.

Caroline Patterson recommends:

Aviary by Deirdre McNamer (Milkweed Editions)

Books by Gwen Florio

Books by Tessa Hadley

A Girl's Story by Annie Ernaux (Seven Stories Press)

The Gilead Novels by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Lauren Korn recommends:

The Center of Everything by Jamie Harrison (Counterpoint Press)

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung (Catapult)

I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This by Nadja Spiegelman (Riverhead Books)

Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. She is the Director of the Montana Book Festival and the host of Montana Public Radio’s literature-based radio program and podcast, The Write Question.
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  • The Write Question is a weekly literary program hosted by Lauren Korn that features authors from the western United States and beyond — including James Lee Burke, Maile Meloy, Thomas McGuane, Kim Barnes, Robert Wrigley, Jess Walter, Pam Houston, Barry Lopez and more.