Sarah Dessen: Biography

Sarah Dessen

06 jun 1970

Sarah Dessen is an American author of young adult fiction who was born in Illinois in 1970. She is the daughter of two professors and her parents’ academic passions and love of writing inspired her to put pen to paper from a very young age. She attended Greensboro College but left before completing her studies. Instead, she later went on to take creative writing classes at the University of North Carolina, and graduated with the best marks possible.

Before managing to become a full time writer, Sarah Dessen worked as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. She used to spend her days writing and working on her novels and her evenings waitressing to pay the bills. It didn’t take her too long to get published, and her first novel That Summer, came out in 1996.

She has since written many novels, almost all of which follow the stories of children and young people after they have suffered a bereavement or have experienced some sort of trauma. She has said in interviews that she has been heavily influenced by the books that she remembers reading as a young adult, which include works by Lois Lowry and Judy Blume. She often writes about how people’s personalities can gradually change over time and how isolated characters distance themselves from friends and family.

Sarah now lives in the countryside near Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband, their daughter and two dogs. She writes full time but enjoys spending her spare time working in the garden or shopping.