I write compact non-fiction about history, memory, and place. My two books, What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia (2018) and Pure America: Eugenics and the Making of Modern Virginia (2021), received praise from smart people in places like the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New Republic, the Boston Review, and Bookforum. Pure America made the 2022 PEN America Literary Awards longlist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction and was named named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2021.
I live in Virginia and also run Passel, an applied history firm, with my partner Josh. We do award-winning consulting work using history to solve real-world problems in Appalachia and the Mid-Atlantic.
My essays and commentary have appeared in the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Nation, and on NPR. I sometimes acquire and edit books in public history and Appalachian studies for West Virginia University Press. I earned a PhD in public history in 2016. I am a member of the National Writers Union, the Authors Guild, and a board member of the Appalachian African-American Cultural Center in Pennington Gap, Virginia.
You can reach me at elizabeth.catte[at]gmail.com or look at the pages for press and books for more information about my work. My last name is pronounced “cat.”