Writers Read: Katie Fallon and the Cerulean Warbler

The clinking and clacking of silverware clashed with fine dining and ambient conversation on Thurs- day evening, the 31st of January.

Katie Fallon, author of the book Cerulean Blues: A Personal Search for a Vanishing Songbird, joined members from the Harrisonburg community, EMU students, and EMU professors for the first Writers Read of 2013.

Katie, a West Virginia native, has been published in a variety of literary journals and magazines including “The Bark,” “River Teeth,” “Appalachian Heritage,” “The Tusculum Review,” and many more.

She is also one of the founders of the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia. Her life revolves around birds, and her book “Cerulean Blues” highlights that relationship.

At the Writer’s Read, she talked about her book, the characters in her book, and her journey while writing the book. But most importantly, she talked about the cerulean warbler, a small blue songbird that wings across the Gulf of Mexico from the Andes Mountains in South America to Appalachia every Spring.

It is one of the fastest declining songbirds in the Americas, and Katie told its story.

The chapter she read for the audience revolved around her travels through the mountains of Appalachia, the fascinating characters she met on her journey, and the discovery of methods being used to combat the problem facing the cerulean warbler.

“She was deeply personal in her writing,” Junior Maria Driediger says. “I thought that she was really authentic.”

Katie didn’t fear opening her emotions to the audience. A short sidenote she included involved a trip to Colombia for the purpose of researching the bird in its wintering grounds.

She expressed her original trepidation in making the trip, fearing the undesirable social and political climate of the country, but she was convinced otherwise by an agent who assured her that if she did get abduct- ed, it would make for a better book.

Katie incorporated her life journeys into the whole book, not just the chapter read at the Writers Read. Her travels, experiences, and writing told a story of a well-informed birder with a knack for putting it down on paper.

Chris Yoder

Categories: Feature

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