Sarah Smarsh is an author, speaker, and journalist who focuses on socioeconomic class and rural America. Her book Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, an instant New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Award, examines economic inequality through her upbringing among the working poor on a Kansas farm.
Sarah has reported on socioeconomic class for The Guardian, the New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and many other publications. Heartland was named a “best of 2018” by NPR, Fresh Air, the Boston Globe, Amazon, Buzzfeed, Barnes and Noble, and Publishers Weekly. In addition to being short-listed for the National Book Award, Heartland was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, the Lukas Prize, the Indie Choice Award, and an Audie Award for Smarsh’s reading of audiobook. Actor-producer Sarah Jessica Parker selected the title for the American Library Association’s Book Club Central.
Sarah is a regular political commentator in national media and has spoken internationally on poverty, rural issues, and cultural divides at venues ranging from small-town libraries to Sydney Opera House. Sarah was recently a Fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and will soon launch a much-anticipated podcast about class and rural America.
By ninth grade, Sarah attended eight southern-Kansas schools, ranging from a 2,000-student high school to a two-room prairie schoolhouse. Now, she holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, as well as degrees in journalism and English from the University of Kansas. A former English professor and grant-writer for social service agencies, Sarah aims for all of her work to have a backbone of civic responsibility.
Available at Roesch Library:
Recent Articles, Interviews, and Media:
Sarah Smarsh Discusses Heartland. WGBHForum. Published October 11, 2018.