Kathleen is the author of several works of fiction and nonfiction, most recently The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, a blend of memoir, journalism and analysis with an eye toward sustainable growing and living.
Her novels draw on her Mexican-immigrant heritage: Spirits Of The Ordinary, The Flower in the Skull and Treasures in Heaven. They are often regarded as works of magic realism, but she thinks of them simply as historical fiction. A collection of short stories, Mrs.Vargas and the Dead Naturalist, and a collection of essays, The Desert Remembers My Name, are her other books.
Her work has received the Western States Book Award, the Governor’s Writers Award, and a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award. She received her second Artist Trust Fellowship in 2008, and has been designated an Island Treasure in the Arts by the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council.
Kathleen has a B.A. in Linguistics from Stanford University, an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and a MFA from the University of New Orleans, which she says required “tortuous” summers in the Mexican arts community of San Miguel de Allende. Kathleen also teaches creative writing at conferences and other writers communities.
To learn more about Kathleen and her work, or to request a personally autographed copy of one of her books, go to www.kathleenalcala.com
"Could this island support its own population if it had to?" Alcalá's personal inquiry into food history and production on her home island, leavened with insights on her own relationship with food over the years, makes for an informative and inspiring read. Using food as a point of reference uniquely illuminates the individuals and communities-including Japanese-American, Croatian, Filipino, and Native American-who have helped to shape the identity of Bainbridge. Her conversations with local present-day farmers, producers and providers of food suggest useful tools for the world at large.