Hard Stories: Sarah Smarsh on ‘Heartland’

Posted on Oct 8, 2018 in Alumni News and News

Sarah Smarsh | Photo credit: Paul Andrews

Sarah Smarsh is out to demolish your stereotypes and assumptions. About Kansas. About the white working class. About so-called red state politics in general and the Trump Train in particular. About life in the vast American middle that she believes is too readily derided as flyover country.

In searing personal essays, pointed newspaper reportage and her first book, published Sept. 18, Smarsh challenges the flawed idea at the heart of our national identity: that America is a classless society, a meritocracy where anyone who works hard will be rewarded with a giant leap on the socio-economic ladder. By drawing on her own life growing up “below the poverty line” in southeastern Kansas, surrounded by family and friends who worked their bodies from first light to late night and still struggled to pay the bills, she has established herself as a champion of those on the losing side of the cultural divide that is economic inequality. Sarah Smarsh is, to put it plainly, calling bullshit on the American Dream.

Read more on Sarah Smarsh’s story.

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