Smile: The Story of a Face
will be published October 5, 2021
Now available for pre-order
ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
44 POEMS FOR YOU by Sarah Ruhl
Watch the Cooper Canyon Press Launch Party
Summer Rhode Island, Read by Sarah Ruhl
Tithe Poem, Read by Sarah Ruhl
100 ESSAYS... was selected as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2014 by the New York Times.
An Introvert’s Guide to Friendship: What my student taught me about one of life’s most important relationships in the NY Times
The Porous Fabric Between Life and Death in Bomb Magazine
The Poetry I Was Grateful For in 2018 in The New Yorker
A Few Important Emails Between Max Ritvo and Sarah Ruhl in Berfois
A Story of Friendship, Letters, and Loss on BYU Radio
Letters from Max-Sarah Ruhl on Writers' Voices
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."
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.