University of Iowa

Sarah Saffian

Sarah Saffian (M.F.A., Columbia) is the author of Ithaka, her memoir of being an adoptee who was found by her birth family. Formerly a professor of journalism at NYU and the New School and teacher of memoir at Sarah Lawrence, Sarah has written for publications including The New York Times, Smithsonian, and Yoga Journal, and she has been a writer-in-residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Millay Colony. As a psychotherapist (L.M.S.W., NYU), Sarah counsels individuals and groups, blending her areas of interest and expertise in Therapeutic Writing, a technique that uses memoir prompts as a tool for encouraging reflection, processing, and discovery. She also works individually as a writing coach. This is Sarah’s eleventh summer at the Festival. Do come visit:

Instructor Events

The profile, one of the foundations of narrative journalism, is a portrait painted in words. A profile writer serves as the eyes and ears of the reader, enabling the reader to experience the subject as palpably as one can without meeting in person.

In an effort to answer the cardinal question of memoir—who cares?—this workshop/seminar zeroes in on what’s most compelling about our life stories. What about you is potentially interesting to others? Can a personal essay stand alone as a complete mini-memoir?