Sarah Shourd


Sarah Shourd is a trauma-informed investigative journalist, playwright, and 2019 Stanford JSK Knight fellow. For the last 12 years her work has focused on exposing the impact of mass incarceration and exploring alternatives. She's written two books: a memoir about the year she spent as a political hostage in Iran, A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012), and the second an anthology of testimonies she collected from inmates across the U.S. during her three-year investigation into solitary confinement in prisons, Hell Is a Very Small Place (New Press, 2016). Based on this investigation, Shourd wrote, directed, and produced a play, The BOX, which premiered in San Francisco in 2016 to sold-out audiences and went on to be performed in the old penitentiary on Alcatraz Island in 2019 and will soon go on a national tour. In 2018 Shourd hosted a podcast, Of Two Minds, on divisiveness in America; and in 2019 she co-created a nonfiction graphic novel called Flying Kites: A Story of the 2013 California Prison Hunger Strike (Haymarket Books, 2021). Her journalism has been published by The New York Times, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, The Daily Beast, CNN, San Francisco Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters, and many more. 

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