22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Sarah Crossan

Portrait Sarah Crossan
© Rolf Mariott

Sarah Crossan was born 1981 in Dublin and grew up in Ireland and England. She graduated with a degree in philosophy and literature from the University of Warwick in 1999, and trained as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University. Crossan subsequently taught at a small private school near New York for several years.

A 2010 grant from the Edward F. Albee Foundation allowed her to complete her first novel, »The Weight of Water« (2012), a coming-of-age story in unrhymed free verse about Kasienka and her mother, who have come to England from Poland in search of her father. Alienated, mobbed and gradually coming to terms with the loss of her father, who already has a new family for some time, Kasienka gains self-confidence and strength – and new friends – through swimming. Critics praised Crossan’s linguistic precision, which creates »a novelistic space filled with imagery that is delicate, poetic, enthralling and dense.« The theatrical adaptation premiered in 2016 at the Theater an der Parkaue in Berlin. Crossan’s dystopian young adult sci-fi novel series »Breathe«, [2012] and »Resist« [2014], depicts an end-time scenario in a world without oxygen, which has to be manufactured artificially and has thus become a speculative commodity that divides society into different classes. A group of adolescents decides to challenge the government’s monopoly on air, leading to an adventurous escape as a result. »Apple and Rain« (2014), is about a 14-year-old girl abandoned by her mother as an infant and her return eleven years later. However, the initial euphoria of their reunion is quickly crushed by disillusionment. Poetry helps protagonists master current situations and transition to adulthood: »Poetry can teach us about ourselves. It can comfort us when we are in despair … But not only that … it can open us up. It can make our worlds bigger and brighter and clearer.« Crossan’s most recent work »One« (2015), a novel in verse about a pair of Siamese twins conjoined at the hip, won the Carnegie Medal in 2016 and was on »Deutschlandfunk« radio’s March 2016 list of seven best books for young readers. Apart from health problems concomitant with their condition, the twins suffer from being socially excluded and their family’s difficult economic and interpersonal situation. When they agree to participate in a documentary, they are pushed to the limits of their physical ability. Not only is »One« characterized by an unusual subject, its linguistic force and unsparing realism, and succinct verse rich in dialogue, spotlight events as they unfold.

Sarah Crossan has been nominated for numerous prizes, such as the 2014 German Children’s Literature Award, and is the recipient of the Luchs des Monats (2014) and the UKLA Book Award (2013), among others. The author lives in Hertfordshire, England.