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LISTEN: Sarah Smarsh On Poverty, Pride, And Prejudice

Aaron Lindberg
Sarah Smarsh

Sarah Smarsh has been gaining international attention for her essays about growing up poor in Kansas — they've appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's,The Guardian, Guernica and elsewhere.

Here, she reads an excerpt from "Poverty, Pride, and Prejudice," published by The New Yorker on July 1, 2015. She was responding to the Kansas legislature’s effort to limit how much money people on welfare could withdraw from an ATM (at the insistence of federal officials, the state rescinded that rule this week).

Sarah Smarsh has taught creative writing and journalism at Washburn University, Columbia University, Ottawa University and the Lawrence Arts Center. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia, as well as degrees in journalism and English from the University of Kansas. Her book In the Red, a memoir of the American working poor as seen through her own turbulent upbringing in rural Kansas, is forthcoming from Scribner.

All of our WORD readings, including bonus tracks by some writers, are archived on SoundCloud.

A free press is among our country’s founding principles and most precious resources. As director of content-journalism at KCUR, I want everyone in our part of America to know we see them and we’re listening. I work to make sure the stories we tell and the conversations we convene reflect our complex realities, informing and inspiring all of us to meet the profound challenges of our time. Email me at cj@kcur.org.
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