Sarah M Broom: ‘There’s no easy way to write about your family’ | The Guardian

The award-winning author on her New Orleans memoir, the ties of neighbourhood, and how Hurricane Katrina changed her lifeSarah M Broom was born and raised in New Orleans. Her journalism has appeared in the NewYorker, New York Times and O, the Oprah Magazine, where she worked as an editor for several years. In 2016 she received the Whiting creative nonfiction grant, which allowed her to finish The Yellow House, a memoir about family, belonging, race, history and home. It won a US national book award in 2019, the judges praising her deft interweaving of “reportage, oral history, and astute political analysis”.The Yellow House is about the ties that bind – a house, a family and a city – but also about America and its discontents: race and class. Given the many different layers, was it a daunting undertaking?Finding the architecture was tough, but once I did, it became easier. A book is like a house; it needs a support structure, beams, entrances and exits, all these layers of construction and form. Before that, though, I was haunted almost from the moment I left New Orleans for New York by the house itself. I felt this deep disconnect between where I was and where I came from. In fact, the very first line I wrote in a notebook was: “I, Sarah M Broom, am a haunted house.” Continue reading…

The award-winning author on her New Orleans memoir, the ties of neighbourhood, and how Hurricane Katrina changed her life

Sarah M Broom was born and raised in New Orleans. Her journalism has appeared in the NewYorker, New York Times and O, the Oprah Magazine, where she worked as an editor for several years. In 2016 she received the Whiting creative nonfiction grant, which allowed her to finish The Yellow House, a memoir about family, belonging, race, history and home. It won a US national book award in 2019, the judges praising her deft interweaving of “reportage, oral history, and astute political analysis”.

The Yellow House is about the ties that bind – a house, a family and a city – but also about America and its discontents: race and class. Given the many different layers, was it a daunting undertaking?
Finding the architecture was tough, but once I did, it became easier. A book is like a house; it needs a support structure, beams, entrances and exits, all these layers of construction and form. Before that, though, I was haunted almost from the moment I left New Orleans for New York by the house itself. I felt this deep disconnect between where I was and where I came from. In fact, the very first line I wrote in a notebook was: “I, Sarah M Broom, am a haunted house.”

Continue reading…