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Kate Southwood

© Aksel Hauglie Johnsen

Kate Southwood

Kate Southwood received an M.A. in French Medieval Art from the University of Illinois, and an M.F.A. in Fiction from the University of Massachusetts Program for Poets and Writers. Born and raised in Chicago, she now lives in Oslo, Norway with her husband and their two daughters. Falling to Earth is her first novel.

All Kate Southwood's books

Latest reviews

  • In 1925, the worst tornado in U.S. history, measuring nearly a mile wide, traveled for more than three hours and almost 220 miles across Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, earning its moniker — the Tri-State Tornado — and killing more people (695) than any single tornado in...
    — Aug 3 2015
  • First novels often tell coming-of-age tales, but the 10 best debut novels reviewed in Booklist between October 15, 2012, and October 1, 2013, take unusual and uniquely arresting approaches to that classic theme as teens and twentysomethings seek solid ground in the wake of catastrophes...
    — Oct 21 2013
  • I've had Kate Southwood's debut novel, Falling to Earth, in my towering, teetering To-Be-Read stack of books (aka Mt. NeverRest) for a long, long time––ever since I first mentioned it here at the blog in the November 2012 edition of Front Porch Books. This week, I finally...
    — Aug 6 2013
  • I tacked the Earthquake Preparedness checklist to my bulletin board several years ago, vowing I’d devote a weekend to assembling the suggested survival kit. I finally admitted defeat when we moved this spring and tossed it into recycling. But I had a queasy feeling my careless...
    — Jul 1 2013
  • In this poignant début novel—based on the destruction of Murphysboro, Illinois, in 1925—a tornado flattens the Midwestern town of Marah. In the aftermath, "horses will scream and rear, even if their heads are blanketed, even if they are led by hand, at the smell of...
    — Apr 29 2013
  • On March 18 1925, the most destructive tornado in US history swept through the Midwest, killing hundreds of people. This real-life tragedy forms the basis for FALLING TO EARTH, Kate Southwood’s stunning first novel. The narrative opens just as the storm hits...
    — Apr 26 2013
  • font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } Kate Southwood’s debut is a thoughtful novel about loyalty and survival. It’s...
    — Apr 7 2013
  • Kate Southwood chose to set her first novel in the wake of the Tri-State Tornado of 1925, the deadliest twister ever recorded in the U.S. and one that ripped to shreds areas of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, resulting in nearly 700 deaths. More than 200 were in Murphysboro,...
    — Apr 3 2013
  • In March 1925 a tornado whipped across the Midwest, leaving hundreds dead. But as Ms. Southwood writes in this elegiac first novel, the storm’s work was not yet done. She focuses on the Graveses, the only family in the devastated town of Marah that was spared any loss,...
    — Mar 27 2013
  • Just before 1 o’clock on the afternoon of March 18, 1925, over the farmland of southeastern Missouri, a column of air, spinning like a skater with her arms folded, came down from the clouds and touched ground. To prevent public panic, the word “tornado” had been officially...
    — Mar 22 2013
  • The feeling of being alienated is not an easy one to digest, no matter what the circumstances. No matter what we say, we all want to belong and to be felt that way, more so in communities. If this is still the preferred way of life, even today, then imagine how important...
    — Mar 12 2013
  • Kate Southwood’s grim, gruesome, raw, and intimate novel FALLING TO EARTH is a story about conflict: man against nature, man against man, and man against himself. Southwood’s spare and measured prose attests to the fragility of life and the ultimate triumph of the human...
    — Mar 8 2013
  • Kate Southwood's debut novel, FALLING TO EARTH, takes place during and after the deadliest tornado in U.S. history, which killed 695 people across three states on March 18, 1925. Even being from Tornado Alley, I hadn't heard of this one--go look at that Wikipedia article,...
    — Mar 4 2013
  • When listing evocative American images, near the top would have to be Mother holding open the cellar door, as the kids scramble down the steps and dark clouds roll toward them across the plains. So opens FALLING TO EARTH, a debut novel from Kate Southwood, which takes as...
    — Mar 4 2013
  • “How does a man greet people he’s known all his life when they’re standing in his house because they’ve lost something, lost everything perhaps, and he has not…How do you look at neighbors and former schoolmates when you know that tomorrow morning, they’ll be...
    — Feb 23 2013
  • Natural disasters are capricious and cruel, leaving some to sort through rubble while others sit comfortably by. In Southwood’s fine debut, a 1925 tornado devastates the small town of Marah, Ill., touching everyone—except for one family. On the day of the storm, the Graves...
    — Jan 7 2013

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