THE SHORT VERSION
SARAH SAFFIAN, LMSW, MFA, is an author, a teacher, a writing coach, and a therapist. Her memoir, Ithaka, chronicles the experience of being an adoptee who was found by her birth family. She teaches memoir at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and Sarah Lawrence, and independently offers writing coaching and editing services as The Vertical Pronoun. As a therapist, Sarah counsels individual clients and runs support groups in private practice settings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Her clinical experience also includes New York University's Counseling and Wellness Services and Spence-Chapin Services. Blending her two main areas of interest and expertise, Sarah has created a model called Therapeutic Writing, using memoir prompts as a tool for encouraging reflection, processing, and discovery. Sarah earned her BA in English from Brown, her MFA in creative writing from Columbia, and her MSW from NYU.
THE LONG VERSION
SARAH SAFFIAN, LMSW, MFA, is an author, a teacher, a writing coach, and a therapist. Ithaka, her critically-acclaimed memoir of being an adoptee who was found by her birth familyboth parents and three full siblingshas become an adoption classic. The book was widely and favorably reviewedby The New York Times Book Review, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, Slate, Salon, Glamour, Redbook, Francine Prose for Elle, and numerous other publications. Ithaka has been translated into Italian (Itaca, Corbaccio), and published in a new edition with a current Afterword. An excerpt from Ithaka is featured in 614: The HBI Ezine, an online magazine for Jewish women published by Brandeis University.
Sarah teaches memoir at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and Sarah Lawrence, and independently offers writing coaching and editing services as The Vertical Pronoun. As a therapist, Sarah counsels individual clients and runs support groups in private practice settings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Blending her two main areas of interest and expertise, she has created a model called Therapeutic Writing, using memoir prompts as a tool for encouraging reflection, processing, and discovery. Sarah's clinical experience also includes counseling undergraduate and graduate students and facilitating CBT and DBT groups, at NYU's Counseling and Wellness Services; and counseling adoptees, birth mothers, and adoptive parents and facilitating support groups for all members of the adoption constellation, at Spence-Chapin Services.
Previously, Sarah has taught journalism at the graduate and undergraduate levels at New York University and the New School, and has contributed to publications including The New York Times, People, Yoga Journal, The Village Voice, The San Francisco Chronicle, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Slate, and Smithsonian. She has worked as the Editorial Director of She Writes, a Senior Editor for Entertainment Weekly, a Senior Writer for Us magazine, and a Staff Writer for The New York Daily News, and created an online course about identity through Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
In April 2010, Sarah traveled to Israel and Morocco as part of a delegation of nine writers (three from the U.S.) and two photographers invited by the University of Iowa's International Writing Program and funded by the State Department. She blogged from the field, and has contributed to a forthcoming e-book compilation of selected essays and photographs.
Sarah has appeared extensively on television and radio, including: CNN, MSNBC, Today, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Extra, Good Day New York, Cold Pizza, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, A&E Biography, Leeza, Leonard Lopate, Joan Hamburg, Diane Rehm, BBC Radio, and Boston's WMJX-FM (where she was a finalist for the "Exceptional Women Under 30" Award in 1998); and she co-hosted with NPR's Ray Suarez a pilot for a PBS talk show about books, called Latest Word. She has also spoken live around the country, including: the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the Northwest Book Festival, the New York Public Library, the Modern Language Association, the American Adoption Congress, Bastard Nation, Concerned United Birthparents, the Adoptive Parents Committee annual conference, the Barker Adoption Foundation annual conference, the Harvard Medical School conference, KGB Bar, and at Barnes & Noble and numerous independent bookstoresspeaking about adoption issues, therapeutic issues, entertainment, and the craft and business of writing, and reading from Ithaka and other works.
Sarah is a member of PEN American Center, the Women's Mental Health Consortium, and the National Association of Social Workers, and has been a writer-in-residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She has volunteered as a workshop leader for Girls Write Now, has served on the Board of Directors of Spence-Chapin, and is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Adoptive Families magazine (which featured Ithaka in its 2005 round-up of all-time best adoption literature).
Sarah graduated with Honors in English and American Literature from Brown, received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia, where she was a Merit Scholar, and her MSW from NYU, where she was a member of the Phi Alpha honors society.