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Heather Harpham biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Heather Harpham
Photo: David Kumin

Heather Harpham

Heather Harpham Biography

Heather Harpham has written six solo plays, including Happiness and Burning which toured nationally. Her fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in MORE Magazine and Water~Stone Review. Harpham is the recipient of the Brenda Ueland Prose Prize, a Marin Arts Council Independent Artist Grant and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and SUNY Purchase and lives along the Hudson River with her family.



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Interview

An interview with Heather Harpmam about Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After in which she writes about her daughter Gracie's sickness and how her background as a playwright and improvisational artist helped enhance the book

In Happiness, the reader has a definite sense of feeling part of the scene and connected with everything that's happening, particularly when you write about your daughter, Gracie, being sick and receiving treatment in the hospital. Do you think your background as a playwright and improvisational artist helped enhance that quality of your writing?

You know, I haven't heard the book described that way yet, as having a "scenic quality" in which the reader feels they are observing reality as an audience does in theater. And I certainly didn't set out to write theatrically. That being said, I'm really glad if that's how it comes across. One thing I discovered early on was that most of what I'd written for the stage was unusable for the page. However, many specific skills translate. I do think my experiences as a solo performance writer may have helped with Happiness. Playwriting requires the ability to compress an experience or story, to modulate the timing of events carefully and to gage an audience's responses moment by moment. Obviously some of those skills translate and others don't, in writing for the page. I tried to bring what worked best to telling the story of Happiness...

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Books by this Author

Books by Heather Harpham at BookBrowse
Happiness jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Heather Harpham but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Paul Kalanithi

    Paul Kalanithi

    Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon and writer. He grew up in Kingman, Arizona, and graduated from Stanford University with a BA and MA in English literature and a BA in human biology. He earned an MPhil in history and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Happiness

    Try:
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi

  • Gina Kolata

    Gina Kolata

    Gina Kolata (M.A.) is a writer and medical reporter for The New York Times. She has previously written five books and edited three collections of popular science writing. Ms. Kolata lives with her husband in Princeton, New ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Happiness

    Try:
    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

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