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Sarah K. Lenz

Sarah K. Lenz is the author of the essay collection, What Will Outlast Me? (Unsolicited Press, 2023). Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Colorado Review, New Letters, Triquarterly, and elsewhere. Her work has been named Notable in Best American Essays three times. Sarah is an Assistant Professor of English at Del Mar College in Texas.

More About Sarah

How do you live knowing you’re going to die? In her debut essay collection, Sarah K. Lenz explores this question, highlighting moments in her life when death brushed near. Lenz writes about a haunting post-mortem photograph, a house fire, a police shooting, a cancer diagnosis, and other key moments in which she learned first-hand what it meant to be faced with one’s own mortality.

In her debut essay collection, Sarah K. Lenz explores the question: How do you live knowing you’re going to die? Lenz touches on moments when death brushed near, including a house fire, a car accident, and a police shooting; key moments in which facing her own mortality sparked her curiosity and insight.

With clarity and grace, Lenz takes on a wide-ranging of topics. From the discovery of a post-mortem photograph of her great-uncles who were killed by lightning to the quotidian pancaking-making days with her preschooler son while the COVID-19 pandemic raged, Lenz confronts the complexities of being sandwiched between aging parents and a young child, while also navigating her own thyroid cancer diagnosis. In the midst of this, Lenz finds herself comforting her father, who’s fixated with where to spread his ashes (“Driving the Section Line”) and, while suffering postpartum depression, imagining all the ways her baby can die (“So Many Ways”).  Though dark in subject matter, Lenz finds beauty, warmth, and wisdom is the telling of these haunting moments in her life. The narrative is buoyed by breathtaking honesty—and a bit of the grotesque–like a misguided attempt to cook a whole hog’s head from her beloved, late grandmother’s recipe. 

This book is a moving, heartfelt meditation on how to face mortality, how to grieve, but most importantly, how to awaken to the ephemeral beauty of the world. This book is a powerful reminder of all that will outlast us and what’s found in those we love.


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