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Bookreporter Talks To

Oct 19, 2021

Sarah Ruhl is a playwright, essayist, and poet, as well as a two time Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Award nominee. Sarah joins Carol Fitzgerald and Austin Ruh to discuss her memoir, Smile: The Story of a Face.

Smile is the story of Sarah Ruhl's decade long journey with Bell's palsy, as well as her experiences as a mother and artist. After surviving a high-risk pregnancy, half of her face is left paralyzed. She's told that most patients recover within a few days, but Sarah's face doesn't go back to normal. Her life is roses to the public, with a play going up on Broadway and her family growing, but she struggles with happiness, both in what others can see on her face and what she reflects on internally.

Sarah talks to Carol and Austin about how people feel emotion, and especially in how external expressions have the power to control our own feelings. She discusses beauty, symmetry, and expression. Then about her writing, how her story grew into a memoir, how certain writing projects are handled differently, and a bit about what she's working on next.

Book discussed in this episode:

Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl

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