Sarah Vowell is a bestselling author of five nonfiction books on American history and culture. By examining the connections between the American past and present, she offers personal, often humorous accounts of everything from presidents and their assassins to colonial religious fanatics, as well as thoughts on American Indians, utopian dreamers, pop music and the odd cranky cartographer.
Vowell’s most recent book, Unfamiliar Fishes (2011) is the intriguing history of our 50th state, Hawaii, annexed in 1898. The Wordy Shipmates examines the New England Puritans and their journey to and impact on America. Her book Assassination Vacation (2005) is a haunting and surprisingly hilarious road trip to tourist sites devoted to the murders of presidents Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. She is also the author of two essay collections, The Partly Cloudy Patriot (2002) and Take the Cannoli (2000). Her first book Radio On (1997), is her year-long diary of listening to the radio in 1995.
Vowell was a contributing editor for Public Radio International’s This American Life from 1996-2008, where she produced numerous commentaries and documentaries and toured the country in many of the program’s live shows. She was one of the original contributors to McSweeney’s, also participating in many of the quarterly’s readings and shows. She has been a columnist for Salon.com, Time, San Francisco Weekly and has written occasional essays for the opinion page of the New York Times.
Vowell has made numerous appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She is the voice of teen superhero Violet Parr in Brad Bird’s Academy Award-winning The Incredibles, a Pixar Animation Studios film.
Vowell is the president of the board of 826NYC, a nonprofit tutoring and writing center for students aged 6-18 in Brooklyn.