Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Sarah Ruhl  

Pen Name: 

Genre: Non-Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: Wilmette, Illinois in 1974

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Illinois Connection

Ruhl is originally from Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Sarah Ruhl is a playwright and writer of other things. Her fifteen plays include In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play), The Clean House, and Eurydice. She has been a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Tony Award nominee, and the recipient of the MacArthur "genius" Fellowship. Her plays have been produced on- and off-Broadway, around the country, internationally, and have been translated into many languages. Her book 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write was a New York Times Notable Book. Her other books include Letters from Max, with Max Ritvo, and 44 Poems for You. She has received the Steinberg Playwright Award, the Samuel French Award, Feminist Press Under 40 Award, the National Theater Conference Person of the Year Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, a Whiting Award, a Lily Award, and a PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for mid-career playwrights. She teaches at the Yale School of Drama, and she lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Tony Charuvastra, who is a child psychiatrist, and her three children.


100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write , New York Times Notable Book

Letters from Max , KIRKUS BEST BOOK - 2018

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: No.

Selected Titles At Your Library

100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater

Faber & Faber. .

44 Poems for You
ISBN: 1556595840. OCLC Number: 1146545950

Copper Canyon Press. .

Playwright Sarah Ruhl's first book of poetry, 44 Poems for You, offers poems that form a subtle, personal meditation on family, motherhood, and loss. With a finely tuned ear for language, Ruhl's poetry sings with a humbling honesty about what it means to share our lives with others and with those who form our hollows: a miscarriage, a close friend lost to cancer, and the sublimity of nature. She delves into womanhood through the physical reality of the everyday, and shows us life through her hands'making terrariums or jam with her husband, holding a child, grasping the counter as she bleeds. Succinct and contemplative, generous and wise, Sarah Ruhl'one of the greatest contemporary playwrights working today'addresses these poems to you.

Letters from Max: A Poet, a Teacher, a Friendship
ISBN: 1571313699. OCLC Number: 1030445658

Milkweed Editions. .

Correspondence between playwright-teacher Sarah Ruhl and poet-cancer patient Max Ritvo, in which the student becomes the teacher--

Smile: The Story of a Face
ISBN: 1982150947. OCLC Number: 1236259285

Simon & Schuster. .

In this poignant and deeply intimate memoir, Sarah Ruhl chronicles her experience with Bell's palsy after giving birth to twins. At night, I dreamed that I could smile. The smile felt effortless in my dreams, the way it did in my childhood. Happily married and in the flush of hard-earned professional success, with her first play opening on Broadway, Sarah Ruhl has just survived a high risk pregnancy and given birth to twins when she discovers the left side of her face entirely paralyzed. Bell's palsy. Ninety percent of Bell's palsy sufferers see spontaneous improvement and full recovery. Like Ruhl's mother. Like Angelina Jolie. But not like Sarah Ruhl. Sarah Ruhl is in the unlucky ten percent. Like Allen Ginsberg. But for a woman, a mother, a wife, and an artist working in the realm of theater, the paralysis and the disconnect between the interior and exterior, brings significant and specific challenges. So Ruhl begins an intense decade-long search for a cure, while simultaneously grappling with the reality of her new face-one that, while recognizably her own-is incapable of accurately communicating feelings or intentions. In a series of searing, witty, and lucid meditations, Ruhl chronicles her journey as a patient, mother, wife, and artist. She details the struggle of a body yearning to match its inner landscape, the pain post-partum depression, the joys and trials of marriage and being a playwright and a mother to three tiny children, and the desire for a resilient spiritual life in the face of difficulty. Brimming with insight, humility, and levity, SMILE is a triumph by one of the leading playwrights in America. It is about loss and reconciliation, perseverance and hope. The Hollywood pitch would be Joan Didion meets Ann Lamott with a little Nora Ephron for good measure--