SARAH L. KAUFMAN is a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, author, journalist and educator. For more than 30 years, she has focused on the union of art and everyday living. As the dance critic and senior arts writer of the Washington Post, she has written about the performing arts, pop culture, sports and personal expression since 1993. She earned her MSJ from Northwestern University, has taught and lectured around the country and is a former French-American Foundation Journalism Fellow. Her first book, THE ART OF GRACE, was a Washington Post Notable Book of 2015 and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award Winner.
Find Sarah’s essays, features and criticism for the Washington Post here.
THE FULL SCOOP Sarah L. Kaufman was born in Austin, Texas. Her mother is from a tiny town in Kansas, her father is from the Bronx. She grew up schooled in Yankees lore and the primacy of pie.
Raised in and around Washington, D.C., she was typing poems on her father’s IBM before she’d started kindergarten. She wrote books with her best friend after school. As a young survivor of open-heart surgery, she learned that life is fragile–and rebuildable. Ballet training paired well with recovery, and with writing: attending to small details, smoothing and refining, getting the rhythm right.
She was a U.S. Senate Page at age 15; spent a year in Cannes, France, as an exchange student, and earned an English degree from the University of Maryland while working at a ballet school and falling in love with the dance world all over again. She wrote for newspapers in Chicago, Detroit and Buffalo, then spent 18 months in Europe with her husband, mostly on a bike.
As the Washington Post’s chief dance critic since 1996, Sarah has explored grace and movement in theaters ~ and beyond. She has written about the Tour de France as art, analyzed politicians’ body language, examined Lady Gaga as a cultural phenomenon. In 2010 Sarah became the first dance critic in 35 years to win the Pulitzer Prize.
Sarah’s work has been featured on national radio and television, including NBC News, CNBC, The PBS NewsHour and On Point with Tom Ashbrook. She has lectured on art, journalism and writing at many universities and serves on the faculty of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. She spoke on Grace in the Digital Age at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW2017) and has given talks and led onstage interviews with celebrities and newsmakers for the Smithsonian, the Goethe Institut, Words on Dance, City Arts & Lectures and more.
Writing THE ART OF GRACE was an indescribable pleasure. She’d love to share it with you–please order it here.
Interviews with Sarah L. Kaufman
“Finding and Exhibiting Grace in a Contentious Election Season:” Sarah Kaufman speaks on The Kojo Nnamdi Show in Washington, DC, about the roots of grace in the ancient era, the cultural shift that took place decades ago away from grace, how it’s affecting our politics and how we can incorporate grace in our lives.
Talking with Sarah Kaufman about grace: On The One You Feed podcast, Sarah speaks about her philosophy of grace as a practice that allows us to take care of ourselves and others. Also, host Eric Zimmer asks Sarah about the story behind “nipples firing!” and more.
On Untangle, the podcast of the top meditation app Meditation Studio, Sarah speaks with co-founder Patricia Karpas:
Dance Critic Sarah L. Kaufman on Why Grace Matters, StageBuddy Q&A with Jose Solis: “It’s a true pleasure to dive into Kaufman’s pithy prose knowing that she is taking that journey with us.”
“Something Significant: Sarah Kaufman,” HappyLiving.com founder Matt Gersper interviews Sarah Kaufman on the origins of her book: “Having been profoundly moved by grace all my life – physical, social and spiritual grace – I wanted to celebrate it in a fun, comprehensive and meaningful way.”
“Movement With Grace”: Interview in HaYidion, a publication of RAVSAK, the Jewish Community Day School Network. “Grace reminds us to take care of ourselves with love and gentleness, to maintain our soul’s home ~ this amazing physical instrument that we inhabit. …Grace involves and supports the whole person, and ripples outward, enriching and nurturing the community, too.”
“Treading Gracefully Online” Talking Tech With Washington Post’s Sarah Kaufman: a Center for Democracy and Technology podcast on the presence of grace in the digital age.
“What are the elements of grace?” LifeTips host Byron White interviews Sarah Kaufman on Webmaster Radio FM.
“Pulitzer Prize-winning dance critic to speak at Jewish Book Festival,” Florida Weekly talks to Sarah Kaufman about grace as a spiritual practice: “because it involves my whole self, my whole relationship to the world, wanting to do right, to be the best person I can be.”
“Dance critic applies grace to every move,” Interview in The Asheville Citizen-Times: “There’s so much art all around us, so much beauty.”
“The Art of Grace: a tête-à-tête with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Sarah Kaufman about her new book,” PEN/Faulkner Foundation Vice President Mary Haft interviews Sarah for The Salonniere website: “It’s what we give in this life that is what’s going to be remembered.”
“The Art and Effort of Personal Grace,” NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook interviews Sarah Kaufman on finding and seeing grace, and how to bring it into our own lives. With guest host Jane Clayson.
“‘The Art of Grace’ offers insight into the essence of grace and how to practice it,” With Sean Moncrieff of Ireland’s NewsTalk radio.
“Finding grace, from Barack Obama to Cary Grant to the NFL,” Religion News Service interview with Sarah Kaufman and discussion of THE ART OF GRACE, “a book with a message, delivered with calm command.”
“Retrieving the Lost Art of Grace,” Australia’s ABC Radio Network; Sarah Kaufman discusses her book & former President Jimmy Carter’s grace on “Counterpoint” with Amanda Vanstone
“‘Amazing Grace,’ A Song of Suffering to Pull Us Together,” PBS NewsHour, July 3, 2015
“Sarah Kaufman: Waiting for the Art to Unfold,” from NEA Arts Magazine, 2014, Number 4
“We’re all drawn to vulnerability. Psychologists call it the Pratfall Effect: when you fall, you stumble, you make a fool of yourself, that can be the moment that most moves people. … So in the end, failure can be inspiration.”