We're elated to host an exclusive discussion of journalist Sarah Smarsh's highly anticipated book, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, with the author in conversation with Chelsea Clinton.
In their starred review, Publisher's Weekly calls Heartland "(c)andid and courageous ... Smarsh's raw and intimate narrative exposes a country of economic inequality that has 'failed its children”. Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, says "this book is so much more than even the best sociology. It is poetry—of the wind and snow, the two-lane roads running through the wheat, the summer nights when work-drained families drink and dance under the prairie sky.”
Following the discussion, copies of Heartland will be available to purchase and be signed by the author.
All ticket proceeds go towards funding the lifesaving services and advocacy work provided by Housing Works.
During Sarah Smarsh’s turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the forces of cyclical poverty and the country’s changing economic policies solidified her family’s place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to look more closely at the class divide in our country and examine the myths about people thought to beless because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact intergenerational poverty can have on individuals, families, and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor, and level of consciousness.
Smarsh was born a fifth generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side. Through her experiences growing up as the daughter of a dissatisfied young mother and raised predominantly by her grandmother on a farm thirty miles west of Wichita, we are given a unique and essential look into the lives of poor and working class Americans living in the heartland. Combining memoir with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, Heartland is an uncompromising look at class, identity, and the particular perils of having less in a country known for its excess.
Journalist Sarah Smarsh's widely circulated pieces on socioeconomic inequality and the working poor have been published by The Guardian, The New York Times, Pacific Standard, The Cut, and many others. She is a frequent commentator on class issues in the U.S. and recently was a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth (Scribner, September 2018) is her first book. She lives in Kansas. Follow her on Twitter at @sarah_smarsh.
Chelsea Clinton is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling picture book She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, which was praised in a starred review by Publishers Weekly as a “lovely, moving work of children's literature [and a] polished introduction to a diverse and accomplished groupof women." She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History, It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! and, with Devi Sridhar, Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why? Chelsea Clinton is the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, where she works on many initiatives including those that help to empower the next generation of leaders. She lives in New York City with her husband, Marc, their daughter, Charlotte, their son, Aidan, and their dog, Soren. You can follow her on Twitter at @ChelseaClinton or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chelseaclinton.