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Sara Zarr

MFA in Creative Writing Faculty

Black and white photograph of Sara Zarr smiling facing the camera.

Sara Zarr is the author of nine novels for young readers, as well as Courageous Creativity: Advice and Encouragement for the Creative Life and This Creative Life: A Handbook for Writers. All of her fiction is contemporary realism, with a focus on the inter- and intrapersonal dramas within the family unit, broadly defined. Her nonfiction (both short and long form) ranges in focus from the psychological and practical obstacles to a productive writing life, to how childhood trauma and dysfunction play out in adulthood, to faith and religion in art and culture. 

Sara is a National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner. Her books have been variously named to annual best books lists of the American Library Association, Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, and the International Reading Association. Her essays and creative nonfiction have been published in ImageRelief, Gather, and several anthologies. She also hosts and produce the This Creative Life podcast.

Selected Works & Honors


A Song Called Home 

Goodbye from Nowhere

Gem & Dixie

The Lucy Variations

How to Save a Life

Once Was Lost

Story of a Girl

Essays & Stories:

"The Uncontained Life: Nomads of the New Economy" (Image No. 110)

"Train" (Relief, Spring 2016)

"Adaptation" (Image No. 93)


2018 PEN America Los Angeles Literary Award Finalist

2014 MacDowell Fellow

2009 & 2011 Utah Book Award Winner

2007 National Book Award Finalist


B.A. Speech & Communication Studies, San Francisco State University