Dispatches | June 12, 2014


This week on The Missouri Review Soundbooth we continue our First Books series by talking to Atlanta-based nonfiction writer, Kate Sweeney. Listen in as Sweeney reads excerpts from and then discusses her new book, American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning.

American Afterlife (University of Georgia Press) explores the experiences of individual Americans involved with death in a culture where even discussing such things is practically taboo. These chapters follow ordinary people making memorial choices as well as the purveyors of those choices to investigate how we memorialize our dead, where these practices came from, and what this says about us.

Kate Sweeney lives in Atlanta where she writes and  creates public radio stories. While pursuing her MFA at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, she spent time with obit writers, funeral directors and ordinary Americans who found themselves involved with death and memorialization.

Credit: Kaylinn Gilstrap Photography

Credit: Kaylinn Gilstrap Photography

Her writing has appeared  several times in Oxford American Magazine, as well as Utne Reader Online,  Atlanta Magazine and New South, among other outlets. She is curator of the popular bimonthly nonfiction reading series, True Story, which Atlanta Magazine voted a Best Literary Event of 2012.

The Missouri Review Soundbooth is a weekly podcast series that brings you readings  and interviews with authors, editors and agents about what’s happening in the literary world. Subscribe to our free podcast on iTunes.