Sarah Gerard's debut novel, Binary Star (published by Two Dollar Radio), is an immersive and intense portrait of a young couple battling their addictions. The book was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and placed on best-of-the-year lists at NPR, Buzzfeed, Vanity Fair, and Flavorwire.
Next week, Gerard is out with a new book, a collection of essays titled Sunshine State that has been placed on most anticipated lists everywhere from the Chicago Tribune to Buzzfeed. An early review in the New York Times says that Gerard's non-fiction work belongs "in the company of acclaimed writers like John Jeremiah Sullivan and Leslie Jamison," which is quite the lofty praise. The Times also just included Sunshine State on their list of 13 books they recommend.
You better believe that Sarah Gerard is gonna be at The Flyover Fest! In anticipation of her appearance next month, we asked her two questions.
Q: You've got a new book that just came out called Sunshine State, which is a collection of essays. Having grown up in Florida, you now live in New York. Did you find that the physical distance helped you gain perspective on your home state?
SG: Absolutely. When I left Florida the second time to move back to New York, I thought I was done with my home state—I was leaving it behind forever. I hadn't wanted to move back there after college but was forced to by a series of life choices that turned out to be bad. I felt a lot of resentment towards the state of Florida in general, like it was the reason I'd failed. But I've been back in New York now for almost seven years, and Florida no longer represents a massive failure for me, but just another step along the path of my life. Now that I'm no longer forced to reside there, I can appreciate its beauty and strangeness.
Q: I think mostly you've passed through Ohio while driving east or west. What are you most looking forward to about stopping this time around?
SG: Actually, my paternal grandparents lived outside Cleveland (dad grew up in Shaker Heights, but they'd since moved to Pepper Pike), so I spent a lot of time there when I was a kid. I love Ohio! I especially love the summer in Ohio. I'm looking forward to enjoying Flyover Fest this time around—truly! I want to mind meld with all of the amazing artists you guys are bringing in.
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