Sarah Vowell

From Academic Kids

Sarah Vowell (born December 27, 1969) is an author, journalist, and regular contributor to the radio program This American Life on Public Radio International.



Vowell was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She earned a B.A. from Montana State University in 1993 and an M.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996. Vowell received the Music Journalism Award in 1996.

Deemed a social observer, Vowell has made public appearances in Amsterdam, Seattle, Aspen, and has made appearances on television shows like Nightline, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Late Show with David Letterman. She also makes regular appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Her writing has been published in The Village Voice, Esquire, GQ, Spin, The Los Angeles Times and The San Francisco Weekly, and she has been a regular contributor to the online magazine Salon.

Vowell lives in New York City, cannot swim, is afraid of heights, and does not drive a car. She usually enlists the aid of her friends and family to drive her to plaques and graves when doing research.

Vowell is part Cherokee (about 1/8th on her mother’s side and 1/16th on her father’s side). According to Vowell, “Being at least a little Cherokee in northeastern Oklahoma is about as rare and remarkable as being a Michael Jordan fan in Chicago.” She retraced the path of the forced removal of the Cherokee from Southeast to Oklahoma known as the Trail of Tears with her twin sister Amy. This was chronicled on the July 4th episode of This American Life in 1998, which was devoted entirely to the story. [1] (

Vowell’s twin sister Amy gave her a hair of abolitionist guerilla warrior John Brown for Christmas, which now decorates her wall.

For the audio recording of her 2002 book, Vowell was able to call upon such friends as Conan O'Brien, Seth Green, Stephen Colbert, David Cross, Paul Begala, Michael Chabon, Norman Lear, and They Might Be Giants to contribute to the reading. The resulting excerpts were posted in McSweeney's Internet Tendency.[2] (

Vowell had friends Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, Stephen King, Dave Eggers, Brad Bird, and Catherine Keener assist her to record the audiobook version of her 2005 book Assassination Vacation.

In 2004, Vowell appeared as shy teenager Violet for the Brad Bird-directed Pixar animation film The Incredibles and reprised her role for the various related video games. The makers of The Incredibles discovered Vowell from an episode of This American Life where she and her father fire a homemade cannon. Pixar made a test animation for Violet using audio from that sequence.

She also wrote and was featured in Vowellet: An Essay by Sarah Vowell included on the DVD version of The Incredibles, where she reflects on the differences between being super hero Violet and being an author of history books on the subject of assassinated presidents, and what it means to her nephew Owen.



Sarah Vowell has pieces featured on the following episodes of This American Life:

External links



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