Marjorie Gellhorn Sa’adah writes and teaches nonfiction to pursue her keen interests and to contribute to the life of her community. After two decades developing and leading innovative programs in community health, Sa’adah is focused on introducing teenagers to the power and practice of creative writing weekly. She has launched writing programs in probation camps, high schools and community centers across the country. Her writing has been awarded fellowships from Sundance, PEN USA, the Durfee Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Hedgebrook, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Rasmuson Foundation, the Island Institute of Sitka, Alaska, and the MacDowell Colony. Her essays appear in anthologies, journals, and the Op-Ed and Book Review pages of the Los Angeles Times. Her essay about downtown L.A., “Only Heaven” opens the anthology Another City: Writing from Los Angeles,” edited by David Ulin, who wrote, “The hallmark of Ms. Sa’adah’s writing is an abiding sense of commitment—to her subjects, to the artful use of language, and to the delicate interplay of past and present, memory and experience, that motivates so much of her work.” Sa’adah is a graduate of Hamilton College, and received her Master’s degree in Ethics from the Episcopal Divinity School. Currently she is at work on a book about itinerant workers in California horse racing. She divides her time between the site of the story, and upstate New York, where she works the hay season on the Gellhorn family farm.
For a recent interview with Sa'adah who was the 2013 Rasmuson Artist-in-Residence in Sitka, Alaska, please click here:
"The students in the creative nonfiction workshop were independent, open-minded and adventurous thinkers. We travelled worlds reading and analyzing exemplary works by established and emerging writers, and no less so as we read the students' writings of love and loss, stories that mined memory and history, and profiles of a special place or person. Beyond the classroom, individual conferences gave me a chance to focus on each student's work-in-progress, and also to talk about college plans, and to strategize about integrating a writing life back home and at high school. As a class, our conversations continued over meals and coffee...my students should've paid rent to the coffee house for all their late night reading and critique sessions that commandeered an entire wing. Needless to say, we took advantage of the vast local resources...the library, the landscape, the fantastic Fourth of July festivities...for daily writing assignments and outdoor classes. While all these students were already writers -- journal keepers to school journalists -- their study of the genre of creative nonfiction allowed them to experiment, hone their skills, and expand their sense of what's possible for their work. I have so much respect for these young people, for the writing they produced, for how hard they worked, for the joy they took in reading and writing, and for the writing community they made."