“As an artist, I am drawn to the lives of people otherwise hidden from public view, whose stories have been denied, distorted, or silenced,” says Susan Southard.
Her first book, Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War (Viking, 2015), received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in Nonfiction and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, and was also named a best book of the year by The Washington Post, The Economist, Kirkus Reviews, and the American Library Association. Her next project continues with the hidden world theme by exploring her own story of following her mentally ill mother into a fear-based cult that controlled her life for more than a decade.
Southard teaches workshops and graduate-level nonfiction seminars and has directed creative writing programs for incarcerated youth and at a federal prison for women. Before moving to North Carolina, she was the founder and artistic director of the Phoenix-based Essential Theatre, a professional company serving marginalized communities across the Southwest. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles.