Cheryl Strayed biography

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Cheryl Strayed
© Robbie McClaran

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed Biography

Cheryl Strayed's award-winning stories and essays have appeared in more than a dozen magazines, including the New York Times Magazine, Allure, Elle, and Nerve. Widely anthologized, her creative nonfiction has been selected twice for The Best American Essays, and Joyce Carol Oates singled her out for the opening piece in The Best New American Voices 2003. Raised in Minnesota, Strayed has worked as a political organizer for women's advocacy groups and was an outreach worker at a sexual violence center in Minneapolis. She holds an MFA from the Syracuse University Graduate Creative Writing Program. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Since 2010, Cheryl has also been responsible for The Rumpus (therumpus.net) "Dear Sugar" column.

Cheryl Strayed's website

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Interview

Cheryl Strayed, author of Torch, discusses the differences between urban culture and rural culture, which serves as a thematic undercurrent throughout her debut novel.

What can you tell us about the genesis of Torch?

I began to write the novel in its most rudimentary form more than ten years ago, when I was in my early twenties, shortly after my mother died — young and of cancer, like the character of Teresa in the novel. My mother's death and my family's subsequent grief, which I fictionalized in Torch, lent itself to the kind of deep character excavation I was compelled to do as a writer. I've always been most interested in exploring relationships and delving into what motivates us, what complicates us, what crushes and saves us and, quite naturally, I've drawn from my own life experiences to do that in both my fiction and my nonfiction. The personal essays I've written for magazines like Allure and Self and the New York Times Magazine and The Sun all explore the same kinds of themes I do in Torch. Having said that, real life is only the raw material from which the story is spun and so the process of writing is not cathartic, but instead creative. Certainly, there are ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Cheryl Strayed at BookBrowse
Wild jacket Torch jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Cheryl Strayed 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.
How we choose readalikes

  • Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg

    Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah's Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Torch

    Try:
    Never Change
    by Elizabeth Berg

  • Joan Didion

    Joan Didion

    Joan Didion is the highly respected author of five novels, several non-fiction books (including Slouching Towards Bethlehem and Political Fictions), and five screenplays co-authored with her husband John Gregory Dunne (... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Torch

    Try:
    The Year of Magical Thinking
    by Joan Didion

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