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author interview

Discussion of Aftermath and Shot in the Head


In this interview, titled, The Aftermath of Tragedy,  the author discusses her creative choices and emotional journey to produce her poetry chapbook, Aftermath, and her memoir, Shot in the Head, a Sister's Memoir, a Brother's Struggle.  

When I wrote my memoir about caring for my brother Paul, I had no idea of how many people suffer from a serious mental illness (SMI). I didn’t know that Paul wasn’t someone who accidentally slipped through the cracks; he was one of millions of people with SMI who are ignored by our mental health system. Four percent of our population suffers from SMI—that’s over 10,000,000—ten million—people in the U. S. alone. And the problem is worldwide. Every one of these millions of people has a family and childhood friends and long-time neighbors who suffer along with them. I learned about the system as I was writing, then promoting, my book. I realized that I could help. I could connect with people who are dealing with a troubled family member; I could tell them they are not alone, give them courage. I could let advocacy groups use my story to illustrate the problem to lawmakers. 

Telling people that 72,000 people died in the U.S. of an opioid overdose in 2017 is just numbers. Showing how that sorrow impacted me and my family helps to put a face on the tragedy that is substance use disorder (SUD) and its aftermath. Aftermath started out simply as one woman processing grief and moving from that to anticipating her own death. But through the particulars of my experiences, I believe others can more fully grasp the SUD tragedy, as well as face death and dying a little more openly.

For the complete interview, please visit  

The interview begins on page 45.


Upcoming Reading


at Manhattanville College

APRIL 11, 2019,  7 PM

Join Manhattanville MFA alumnae Katherine Dering, Terry Dugan and Alex Lindquist at Manhattanville's Barat House. 

Katherine and Terry  will read from their recently published work, and Alex will display and speak about her art. 

All three will also talk about how passion and art intersect. 

Books will be available for sale, and the authors will sign their work.

Recent Appearances & Publications


Poets in Conversation at the Norwalk Public Library

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2018, 7 – 8:15 PM:

Katherine Flannery Dering is a poet, novelist and memoirist who holds an MFA from Manhattanville College. In 2014 she published Shot in the Head, a Sister’s Memoir a Brother’s Struggle (Bridgeross). A mixed genre book of poetry, prose, photos and emails, it deals with caring for her schizophrenic brother, and she is an advocate for better care for the mentally ill.  Her poetry chapbook, Aftermath, to be published in 2018, began during a period of introspection following the death of her nephew from a drug overdose. Her poetry and essays have also been featured in numerous small journals, newspapers and anthologies. Ms Dering  lives in Bedford, NY and currently serves on the executive committee of the Katonah Poetry Series. She blogs at

Recent publication

I was pleased that my essay, Dancing with my Brother, was published in Cordella Magazine.

Link to essay

Interviewed by writing coach