Above: Sarah with Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, at her home in Gloucestershire, England, October 2013.
My work at The Globe and Mail, Canada’s Leading National Newspaper.
The first article I ever had published in The Globe and Mail was an essay in 1991 on the “Facts & Arguments” page, where anyone can write in with a submission. I wrote something about the beauty of the summer and was thrilled when I heard that it would appear in print.
I had never had anything published before.
I was soon writing for magazines, and in 1998, based on the work I had done, The Globe and Mail invited me to write a weekly column. It was a social column, only in the Toronto edition of the paper. Initially, I turned it down. Did I want to write a social column? Not really. But then a friend of mine, Howard Schneider, then The Washington Post correspondent here in Canada, told me I was crazy. “I don’t care what the national paper offers you as a column, take it.” That was probably one of the best pieces of advice anyone had ever given me. I called back the assigning editor, and said I had changed my mind. If I hadn’t done that, my career at The Globe would probably never have unfolded as it did.
A year later, I was given the opportunity to write The Interview, or, The Hampson Interview, as it was called then. I had been writing profiles, for the most part – in magazines – and I thought it would be a great challenge to see if I could write a feature-y length article (by which I mean about 1,500 words, and sometimes longer especially when the interview was in its first few years) based on an in-person interview – every week.
I wrote that interview column for close to 15 years.
In 2007, I came on staff at The Globe and Mail and started my Generation Ex column, which was a weekly look at the social phenomenon of divorce. (I had gone through one about 6 years earlier and had processed enough of the pain and hardship to be able to write about it coherently – I think.) It was a big success and I continued it for three years, by which point I had divorce ennui and needed to move on. After that, I wrote a column about the psychology of money and then a column about happiness studies and then a column about style. And now I write a bi-weekly observational column in the Life section. It doesn’t have a title – phew – which gives me the freedom to write about anything.
I am also a feature writer. I have written about many things, too numerous to mention. I have been fortunate to do several working stints in London, England for months at a time, writing as a cultural correspondent about culture, art and literature.
To read my most recent columns please click The Globe and Mail link.