Discipline: Theatre – playwriting, Literature – fiction, Literature – nonfiction

Sarah Schulman

Discipline: Theatre – playwriting, Literature – fiction, Literature – nonfiction
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 1986, 1988, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2007, 2014, 2019, 2023

Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, nonfiction writer, and AIDS historian. Her most recent book, Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987–1993 won the Lambda, Publishing Triangle, and National LGBT Journalists Association Book Award, and was a finalist for the PEN Nonfiction Book Award, as well as a New York Times Notable Book and Editors Choice. Her novel, The Cosmopolitans was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best novels of 2016. Schulman has won a Guggenheim in Playwrighting and a Fulbright in Judaic Studies

Her essay “Witness” appears in Nan Goldin's retrospective catalogue, published in 2023. She also wrote the notes for the Criterion Channel selection of All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, a documentary about Nan Goldin directed by Laura Poitras. Schulman’s essay on Alice Neel will appear in the catalogue to the show “Alice Neel's queer Portraiture” curated by Hilton Als, at David Zwirner- LA in spring 2024.

Schulman is co-founder of MIX:NY Queer Experimental Film Festival, and The ACT UP Oral History Project, which produced the feature length documentary United in Anger: A History of ACT UP. Her plays Carson McCullers and Manic Flight Reaction have been produced at Playwrights Horizons in New York, and two films: The Owls and Mommy is Coming showed at The Berlin Film Festival.

While at MacDowell in 2005, Schulman prepared her eighth novel, The Child, and worked on new drafts of two plays, Roe Versus Wade, and Enemies, A Love Story (adapted from I.B. Singer). In addition, she wrote the first draft of a new novel, Cousin Bette on the Burning Deck, and the introduction to the 15th anniversary edition of her novel Empathy. During both 2007 Fellowships, she collaborated with Anthony Davis and Michael Korie on a musical theatre adaptation of her novel, Shimmer; It was workshopped at Yale in Spring 2023 and Northwestern in Winter 2024. She also worked on The Gentrification of the Mind, a collection of essays about the consequences of AIDS on art-making and collective values. During her 2019 Fellowship, she completed a first draft of LET THE RECORD SHOW.

In 2023, Schulman completed rough first drafts for two books: A nonfiction work on the dilemmas of solidarity tentatively titled Jean Genet in Palestine, and a novel tentatively titled Trust Me!. She also worked on a draft of her play about the Roe v. Wade case.

Portrait by BH Yael



Sarah Schulman worked in the Barnard studio.

Originally built near MacDowell's Union Street entrance, the Barnard Studio — which was funded by Barnard College music students — was re-located to its current site in 1910. When the small structure was moved, its size was doubled with the addition of a second room. This remodeling, financed by Mrs. Thomas E. Emery of Cincinnati…

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