Smile: The Story of a Face
will be published October 5th, 2021

Now available for pre-order


At the height of her career, with her first play opening on Broadway, and a happily married mother of three, Sarah Ruhl had just survived a high-risk twins pregnancy when she discovered the left side of her face completely paralyzed. She is assured that ninety percent of Bell’s palsy patients see spontaneous improvement and experience a full recovery. Like Ruhl’s own mother. Like Angelina Jolie. But Sarah is in the unlucky ten percent. And for a woman, wife, mother, and artist working in theater, the paralysis and the disconnect between the interior and exterior brings significant and specific challenges. So Ruhl begins an intense decade-long search for a cure while simultaneously grappling with the reality of her new face—one that, while recognizably her own—is incapable of accurately communicating feelings or intentions.

In a series of piercing, witty, and lucid meditations, Ruhl chronicles her journey as a patient, wife, mother, and artist. She explores the struggle of a body yearning to match its inner landscape, the pain of postpartum depression, the story of a marriage, being a playwright and working mom to three tiny children, and the desire for a resilient spiritual life in the face of illness.

Brimming with insight, humility, and levity, Smile is a triumph by one of America’s leading playwrights. It is an intimate examination of loss and reconciliation, and above all else, the importance of perseverance and hope in the face of adversity. 


 Click here to learn more about Smile

*Please contact her publicist, Anne Tate Pearce, at anne.pearce@simonandschuster.com if you would like to schedule an engagement with Sarah. 

Sarah's play Dear Elizabeth will be performed on June 17th, 2021, as part of this year's virtual "Spotlight on Plays" series benefitting The Actors Fund. The production is directed by Kate Whoriskey, and stars Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. The performance will be streamed here. 

Watch Sarah's interview with Classic Stage Company: Classic Conversations with Sarah Ruhl 

3Views on Theater
, co-founded by Sarah and Julia Jordan, has been featured in Playbill: "New Theatre Journal 3Views Shifts Its Mission in Wake of Pandemic".

Featured in the Atlantic: "Notes from a Videochat Memorial: Will these Zoom funerals be anything more than empty containers for unshed tears?"


Featured in the New York Times: "Broadway is Closed. Write Poems Instead." 

Sarah recently led a workshop with Signature Theatre: "Where Poetry Meets Playwriting"

Featured in the New York Times: "Sarah Ruhl, the Celebrated Playwright, Will Publish a Memoir."

Sarah is currently a Playwright-in-Residence with Signature Theatre's Residency Program. 

Sarah spoke at a livestream event honoring the winners of the 2020 Whiting Awards-–2020's writer to watch in Vanity Fair–"Sarah Ruhl's Reasons to Keep Writing".

Sarah's play Eurydice was listed as one of The 25 Best American Plays since 'Angels in America' by the NY Times.

Sarah's poems “Summer, Rhode Island,” “Miscarriage,” and “I Wanted Music” have been published in Narrative Magazine.

Sarah is the recipient of the 2016 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. Sarah's speech can be read here.


        Photograph courtesy of L.A. Times                             Photograph by Emily Berl/Redux

Photograph by Fred R. Conrad