Chatham University

Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Faculty and Staff

Sarah Alexander, MSW

Sarah Alexander,

salexander@chatham.edu
Lecturer
Hometown : Conyngham, PA
Joined Chatham : 2000

Academic Areas of Interest

Children and young adult literature, disability literature, non-fiction, biography, memoir, and personal essays

Personal Areas of Interest

swimming, kayaking, hiking, piano, plays, movies, baseball (Pirates--I can't help myself)

Personal Website : Visit Website

Biography

Sarah (Sally Hobart) Alexander is the author of 8 award-winning books for children and teens. 5 of her books deal with issues relating to her blindness, while a sixth chronicles the story of the first educated Deaf-Blind woman, Laura Bridgman. Sally teaches 3 courses at Chatham, young adult literature (Blue Jeans Lit), writing fantasy and science fiction (Inventing Wonder), and writing autobiography and biography, (Transcribing Lives). In addition, she mentors 2 bi-monthly writing groups and travels widely (Germany, Belgium, Holland) to give talks and do school appearances. At present, she is putting together a new course for Chatham on disability literature, which will be experiential as well as literary. She is working on a new biography about another 19th century sensation, Blind Tom, a former slave and musical genius. Her agent is marketing her newest book, an adult memoir called "My End of the Leash: Loving and Letting Go," which demystifies her 3 guide dogs and their owner. She has published several articles, most recently a personal essay on the value of touch, considered the impoverished step sister to hearing and sight. Last summer she published a monograph on "Breaking down the Barriers" between the able-bodied and disabled. Her husband co-authored "She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman: Deaf-Blind Pioneer" and is working with her on the newest biographical project. She is the mother of two grown children, one aging German shepherd, and a new young German shepherd guide.

Education

  • MSW, University of Pittsburgh, 1973

Publications

  • She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer; Do You Remember the Color Blue; On My Own: The Journey Continues; Taking Hold: My Journey into Blindness; Mom's Best Friend; Maggie's Whopper; Sarah's Surprise; Mom Can't See Me, Travelling Blind (Newsweek online)

Certifications

  • Pennsylvania and California Teaching Certificates: Elementary Education

Awards

  • 5 Junior Library Guild Selections; Editor's Choice Award; National Council of Teachers of English Selection; one of 25 best picks for non-fiction, Boston Globe; Christopher Medal Award winner; Book for the Teenage Selection; Carolyn Field Honor Book; 5 starred reviews; Award from University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg for Mentoring, Advocacy, and Contributions to Children Literature; Junior Authors and Illustrators Selection

Organizations

  • Radio Information Service; Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services; Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; Modern Language Association; Community of Reconciliation

Achievements

  • Served as Board Member and Vice-President, Stanton Heights Civic Association, 1978-84; Board Member, Radio Information Service for the Blind, 1999-2003; Disability Advocate and Fund-raiser for Blindness and Visual Rehabilitation Services

Presentations

  • Numerous school appearances every year; participation in 6 New Jersey Peace Day programs each year; annual presentation to Multi-cultural Conference at Point Park University; Writing as a Career Presentation to Jewish Family and Children's Services; Motivational Speaking to Disabled Students and their Parents and Teachers