Sara Paretsky

"It wasn't that I wanted to tell stories that had a political purpose. I wanted to tell stories that rescued the voices that no one was listening to."

Sara Paretsky is a writer of great courage and intellect. Her work has revolutionized a genre where all too often women have been portrayed as either vamps or victims.

In 1982, Sara wrote Indemnity Only and first introduced the world to V.I. Warshawski, a female detective who is empowered and independent. Since that first novel Sara has written fifteen more best-selling Warshawski novels, and her books have been published in 30 countries. The New York Times writes that Sara “always makes the top of the list when people talk about female operatives,” while Publishers Weekly says, “Among today’s PIs, nobody comes close to Warshawski.”

Called “passionate” and “electrifying,” V.I. reflects her creator’s own dedication to social justice. Sara is a devoted advocate for those on society’s margins. Moving to Chicago from rural Kansas in 1966 Sara worked as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side during the turbulent race riots of that year. More recently she has mentored teens in Chicago’s most troubled schools, and she works closely with literacy and reproductive rights groups.

Not only has Sara’s own work broken barriers but she has also helped open doors for other women. In 1986, she created Sisters in Crime, a worldwide organization to support female crime writers, which earned her Ms. Magazine’s Woman of the Year award. She is also the recipient the British Crime Writers’ Association’s prestigious Cartier Diamond Dagger and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Like her fictional detective, Sara lives and dies with the Cubs, runs Chicago’s lakefront with her golden retriever, and loves to sing, taking part in community musicals.

Sisters in Crime Interview Founding Mother Sara Paretsky


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