Susan Southard is the author of Nagasaki, the story of five survivors of the 1945 Nagasaki atomic bombing and the lifelong impact of nuclear war. As a work-in-progress, Nagasaki was the finalist for the 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Prize for Excellence in Creative Nonfiction, administered by the Columbia School of Journalism and Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Nagasaki also received a 2011 grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism in Washington, D.C., a 2009 Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant, the 2008 Arizona Commission on the Arts Individual Artist Project Grant, and the 2008 Bill Desmond Writing Award. Judged by Robin Hemley, “Afterlife,” an essay adapted from Nagasaki, was the finalist in Hunger Mountain’s 2009 Creative Nonfiction Essay Prize and published by that journal in 2010. Nagasaki will be published by Viking Penguin in 2014.
Susan holds an MFA in Literary Nonfiction from Antioch University/Los Angeles, where she was a recipient of the Eloise Klein Healy Scholarship. In 2011, she was selected as a Norman Mailer fellow in nonfiction and spent a month in residence at the Norman Mailer Center in Provincetown, MA. In addition to literary nonfiction, she has written three plays that have been produced for the stage. As the founder and artistic director of Essential Theatre, a professional ensemble known for its innovative work in the field of theatre and social change, Susan has performed in thousands of interactive theatre performances and conducted workshops for audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the country. Essential Theatre is currently in its twenty-third season. Susan also teaches creative writing and theatre in a federal women’s prison outside Phoenix and mentors individual writers.