About Sarah Relyea

Author Sarah Relyea

Author Sarah Relyea
Photo © Hunter Canning Photography

I grew up in Berkeley during the counterculture movement of the 1960s. As a young girl, I went to the infamous Altamont concert and frequented Telegraph Avenue. I left the Berkeley counterculture at age thirteen and processed its effects as a teenager in suburban Los Angeles. There, surrounded by nature but in fraught connection with my past, I developed a lifelong interest in literature and writing. I also took up track and field, enjoying the sport’s combination of freedom and mind-altering discipline. I soon swapped California’s psychedelic and outdoor scene to study English literature at Harvard.

After college, I worked as Literary Manager for an Off-Off Broadway theater, reading many plays and studying directing. I regard this early engagement with dramatic writing as an important influence on the structure and dialogue of my fiction.

Returning to school for graduate studies, I focused on twentieth-century American and English literature. With a PhD from The CUNY Graduate Center, I taught American literature and writing at universities in New York and Taiwan. Questions of identity have remained important to me over time, as seen in my book of literary criticism, Outsider Citizens: The Remaking of Postwar Identity in Wright, Beauvoir, and Baldwin.

Playground Zero is set in the Berkeley of my early years. Through writing fiction, I gave myself over to the always-unpredictable process of reshaping personal memory in connection with history. In doing so, I became acutely aware of the interplay of past and present, personal and historical perspectives. The ongoing presence of the past, experienced as the intertwining of psychological and historical forces, continues to engage me.

I remain bicoastal, living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and spending time in the Bay Area and Mendocino, California.

For information on my upcoming readings and events, please visit my author page on Facebook. You are welcome to connect with me through the Contact page on this website, or you can visit me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Author Sarah Relyea

Where to Buy My Books