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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

Judy Blunt to visit URI
Author of Breaking Clean memoir

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 14, 2003 -- Judy Blunt, author of Breaking Clean, will visit the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston campus on Thursday, March 20 at 5 p.m. She will speak in the Hardge Room of URI’s Multicultural Center. The talk is free and open to the public. There will be a book signing after the talk.

Born into a third generation of Montana homesteaders, Blunt spent more than 30 years on cattle and wheat ranches. She grew up with cattle and snakes, isolation and outhouses, numbing blizzards and blazing prairie fires. And she also grew up with a set of rules and a role allotted to her sex long before she was born. Married at age 18 to a man 12 years her senior, she struggled to define herself as a woman in a man’s world.

In 1986, she did the unthinkable. She left. Arriving at the University of Montana with three small children in tow, Blunt wrote an essay about her life for a class. The essay became the launch pad for her literary debut. Her memoir was written in 10 years of stolen moments between mothering, studying and working. Critically acclaimed, Breaking Clean, was published as a hardcover in 2002 and released as a paperback in January.

The book has been called "powerful" by The New York Times and "staunch and unblinking…A valuable addition to the literature of place and the literature of passage" by The Washington Post. It has been featured on NBC’s "Today" show and on National Public Radio.

Blunt is a friend and former graduate student of Nancy Cook, URI associate professor of English, who taught a class on literature of place at the University of Montana.

Cook calls her student’s memoir "compelling" and notes that Blunt once jokingly asked that when she finished her book, would Cook teach it in one of her classes? Cook used Blunt’s book in her class entitled "Women and the Politics of Place" this semester at URI.

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