Susan Margulies Sheehan graduated from Wellesley College in 1958, and she began writing in 1960. She is currently a staff writer for The New Yorker, a magazine to which she began contributing in 1961.
Sheehan received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1983 for her book Is There No Place on Earth for Me? The work was first published as a four-part series of articles in The New Yorker, and it chronicles the details of Sylvia Frumkin’s struggle with schizophrenia. For three years, Sheehan followed Frumkin as she moved between the hospital, her parents’ home, and a supervised apartment. Throughout the process, Sheehan lived as an observer in a state mental institution, making note of the difficulties for both patients and staff members. In 1981, she received the media award from the National Association for Mental Health for her series in The New Yorker.
Sheehan’s other works include A Welfare Mother (1976) and Life for Me Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair (1993), both of which study the effects of the welfare system on mothers and children. Her most recent work is The Banana Sculptor, the Purple Lady, and the All-Night Swimmer: Hobbies, Collecting, and Other Passionate Pursuits (2002).
Susan Sheehan is married with two children. Her husband, Neil Sheehan, also won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1989 for A Bright Shining Lie, an account of a lieutenant colonel and American involvement in Vietnam.
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