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Kathy Bratkowski  

Writer l Producer l Director

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Kathy Bratkowski is a writer living and working in St. Louis, Missouri. Her fiction has been published in Drunk Monkeys, Old Northeast Review and elsewhere. She has produced and directed three documentary films and scores of short video features, many of which have been recognized by regional Emmy® awards, MCA Golden Reels and Telly awards. Her documentaries have screened in film festivals (the New York Television Festival, the St. Louis International Film Festival, and the Archaeology Channel film festival) and are streaming on Amazon Prime. 

She has an M.F.A. from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, and an M.A. in Media Communications from Webster University, where she taught courses in writing, media ethics and production. She has taught broadcast and multimedia production at Lindenwood University and St. Louis Community College. 

She is a contributing editor at River Styx magazine where she has conducted story critiques for fiction writers. She was a finalist in the Masters' Workshop in the Tucson Festival of Books and has attended residences at Dairy Hollow, Vermont College of Fine Arts and Craigarden Arts Center.

She hosts interviews with authors as part of a series sponsored by the St. Louis County Library and St. Louis-area independent bookstores. She is at work on a multiple point-of-view novel Echo Beach, about an environmental catastrophe that displaces an entire small town, with long-lasting effects on the lives of the people who called it home.

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     Excerpt from Echo Beach -  

     On the day that dioxin-contaminated oil was sprayed on their yard and the floor of the horse barn, Parker and Dylan sat atop a metal gate, dangling their legs. They sucked bomb pops—Dylan’s orange, Parker’s a patriotic red, white and blue-- and watched as a man spread an iridescent purple liquid across the dirt floor of their horse barn. It came from a long white pipe attached to a truck. The nozzle on the end sprayed an aerosol, misty like the hairspray worn by their mother Linda. She was bubbly and chatty with the man, describing how hosing down the barn floor and arena with water ate up at least forty-five minutes of precious time in the morning, and who needs that? The man was sullen and silent. All business.

     As he opened his truck door to leave, he spoke to Parker and Dylan.  “You might not want to play out here for a few days,” he said. 

“I didn’t expect it to smell this much,” Linda said.

     “That’ll be gone in a day or two. You won’t see any flies out here, for sure.”

      “Good." Her mother hated horseflies and their stinging bites. She gave him a check and he left. 

        That night, and for what seemed like many nights to come, a bitter stench came through the open windows of the house, a rank stew like gasoline, nail polish remover and bleach combined.  Mosquitos disappeared immediately, as did flies, gnats, spiders, bees and wasps. The insects weren’t missed.

       But the birds. The birds made sweet sounds and didn’t scare anyone or anything, and flew gracefully, and flit about the yard, and raised babies in nests in the rafters of the barn. 

     One weekend morning, as Parker jumped rope on the dirt path leading to the barn, she nearly tripped over a dead bird, a starling on its side with wings tucked. Its eye was a small marble, black and bottomless. 

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