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Patricia Prijatel’s Book Discussion

Updated: Jun 28, 2023



Burn Scars: A Memoir of the Land and Its Loss


Public Program and Book Discussion on Burn Scars: A Memoir of the Land and Its Loss, Saturday July 8th at 2 pm – 600 Main Street, Walsenburg, CO. 81089, light refreshments will be served


The Museum of Friends is pleased to welcome renowned author Patricia Prijatel for a public program on Saturday July 8th at 2 pm. Patricia Prijatel is a native of Pueblo, Colorado. She graduated from Pueblo Catholic High School and Southern Colorado State College. Please join us as we learn about Ms. Prijatel’s journey to recovery as she chronicles the aftermath of the fire in Burn Scars: A Memoir of the Land and Its Loss, having experienced the 2013 East Peak fire that left her family and friends devastated.


Pat explores: the ruin of the land; flash floods on eroded land; invasive weeds crowding out grass and seedlings; hurricane-level winds breaking burned trees in half; dangerous orphaned animals; toxic air; and stress, depression, and life-threatening diseases. The book follows Prijatel and her family through six years of living in a changed landscape. It’s a story of a love of the land, of hope challenging despair, and of a deep grief that endures to this day.


Patricia Prijatel is the E.T. Meredith Distinguished Professor Emerita at Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is also the author of Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and the co-author of The Magazine from Cover to Cover. She’s published more than a thousand articles and essays for a diverse array of publications, including Psychology Today, Cure, Better Homes and Gardens, Print, Diabetic Living, Huffington Post, Ms., and Balanced Living. She blogs regularly for Psychology Today.

There will be time for questions following the program and an opportunity to purchase a signed copy of Burn Scars: A Memoir of the Land and Its Loss.


Patricia Prijatel is a native of Pueblo, Colorado, and spent her childhood summers in the backseat of a 1955 Plymouth station wagon exploring the Southern Colorado mountains, with Lake Isabel and Rye being family favorites. She graduated from Pueblo Catholic High School and Southern Colorado State College. She moved to Des Moines, Iowa, to work for Better Homes and Gardens, met her husband, raised two children, and joined the journalism faculty of Drake University. She left her heart in the Rockies, always intending to move back.


In 1991, her parents wanted to give their five children a part of their inheritance. Pat, plus a sister and brother used it to buy land at the foot of the East Spanish Peak. They built off-the-grid homes, with Pat’s brother Ed being the primary builder and contractor, with the rest of the family, including children, nephews, and nieces, doing everything from digging to drywalling to decks.


Pat and her husband Joe have spent much of their summers in their simple 480-square foot cabin, extending their visits after retirement. Everything changed in 2013, with the East Peak Fire, which started a half mile away from the cabin. The fire rushed through their land within hours, and then returning days later. Firefighters saved their homes, but much of their forest was burned.


Pat chronicles the aftermath of the fire in Burn Scars: A Memoir of the Land and Its Loss, as the ruin of the land and its people grew: flash floods on eroded land; invasive weeds crowding out grass and seedlings; hurricane-level winds breaking burned trees in half; dangerous orphaned animals; toxic air; and stress, depression, and life-threatening diseases. The book follows Prijatel and her family through six years of living in a changed landscape. It’s a story of a love of the land, of hope challenging despair, and of a deep grief that endures to this day.

Patricia Prijatel is the E.T. Meredith Distinguished Professor Emerita at Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is also the author of Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and the co-author of The Magazine from Cover to Cover. She’s published more than a thousand articles and essays for a diverse array of publications, including Psychology Today, Cure, Better Homes and Gardens, Print, Diabetic Living, Huffington Post, Ms., and Balanced Living. She blogs regularly for Psychology Today.




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