Sarah Vowell

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Sarah Vowell

Born Sarah Jane Vowell
December 27, 1969 (1969-12-27) (age 39)
Muskogee, Oklahoma

Sarah Jane Vowell (born December 27, 1969) is an American author, journalist, humorist, and commentator. Often referred to as a "social observer," Vowell has written several books and is a regular contributor to the radio program This American Life on Public Radio International. She was also the voice of Violet in the animated film The Incredibles and a short documentary, Vowellet: An Essay by Sarah Vowell in the "Behind the Scenes" extras of The Incredibles DVD release.


[edit] Education and personal life

Vowell was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She has a fraternal twin sister, Amy. She earned a B.A. from Montana State University in 1993 and an M.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996. Vowell received the Music Journalism Award in 1996.

Vowell is part Cherokee (about 1/8th on her mother’s side and 1/16th on her father’s side). According to Vowell, “Being at least a little Cherokee in northeastern Oklahoma is about as rare and remarkable as being a Michael Jordan fan in Chicago.” She retraced the path of the forced removal of the Cherokee from the southeastern United States to Oklahoma known as the Trail of Tears with her twin sister Amy. This American Life chronicled her story on July 4, 1998, devoting the entire hour to Sarah's work.[1]

Vowell currently lives in Chelsea, a residential neighborhood in Manhattan. She cannot swim, is afraid of heights, and does not drive a car; she usually enlists the aid of her friends and family to drive her to historical sites when doing research. She suffers from celiac sprue, in which the body has an auto-immune reaction to gluten. Vowell is an atheist.[2]

[edit] Career

[edit] Published works

After obtaining her master's degree, Vowell published a book about her affection for the radio medium, Radio On: A Listener's Diary, in 1997. Her writing has been published in The Village Voice, Esquire, GQ, Spin, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The San Francisco Weekly, and she has been a regular contributor to the online magazine Salon.

For the audio recording of The Partly Cloudy Patriot, Vowell was able to call upon such friends as Conan O'Brien, Seth Green, Stephen Colbert, David Cross, Paul Begala, Michael Chabon, Norman Lear, and They Might Be Giants to contribute to the reading. The resulting excerpts were posted in McSweeney's Internet Tendency. [3]

In 2005, Vowell served as a guest columnist for the New York Times during several weeks in July, briefly filling in for Maureen Dowd. Vowell also served as a guest columnist in February 2006, and again in April 2006.

In 2008, Vowell contributed an essay about Montana to the book State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America.

[edit] Public appearances and lectures

Vowell has made many public appearances and has been on a number of speaking tours, usually discussing her written works as well as cultural and historical events.

She has made appearances on television shows like Nightline, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report and The Late Show with David Letterman. She also makes regular appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[4]

In April 2006, Vowell served as the keynote speaker at the 27th Annual Kentucky Women Writers Conference.[5]

In August and September 2006, she toured around the United States as part of the Revenge Of The Book Eaters national tour, which benefits the children's literacy centers 826NYC, 826CHI, 826 Valencia, 826LA, 826 Michigan, and 826 Seattle.

Sarah Vowell also provided commentary in Robert Wuhl's 2005 Assume the Position HBO specials.

[edit] Voice and acting work

Vowell's first book, which had radio as its central subject, caught the attention of This American Life host Ira Glass, and it led to Vowell becoming a frequent contributor to the show. Many of Vowell's essays have had their genesis as segments on the show.

In 2004, Vowell provided the voice of Violet Parr, the shy teenager in the Brad Bird-directed Pixar animated film The Incredibles and reprised her role for the various related video games and Disney on Ice presentations featuring The Incredibles. The makers of The Incredibles discovered Vowell from episode 81 – Guns of This American Life where she and her father fire a homemade cannon. Pixar made a test animation for Violet using audio from that sequence, which is included on the DVD version of The Incredibles. She also wrote and was featured in Vowellet: An Essay by Sarah Vowell included on the DVD version of The Incredibles, where she reflects on the differences between being super hero Violet and being an author of history books on the subject of assassinated presidents, and what it means to her nephew Owen.

Vowell provided commentary in "Murder at the Fair: The Assassination of President McKinley", which is part of the History Channel miniseries, 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America.

Vowell is featured prominently in the They Might Be Giants documentary Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns). She also participated on the DVD commentary for the movie, along with the film's director and They Might Be Giants' John Linnell and John Flansburgh.

In September 2006, Vowell appeared as a minor character in the ABC drama Six Degrees.

[edit] Partial bibliography

[edit] References

[edit] External radio links

Sarah Vowell's writing has been featured on the following episodes of This American Life:

[edit] External video links

[edit] External links

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