Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley

Essays | Feminism

Sarah Polley is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, director and actor. After making short films, Polley made her feature-length directorial debut with the drama film Away from Her in 2006. She received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay, which she’d adapted from the Alice Munro story ‘The Bear Came Over the Mountain’. Her other projects include the documentary film Stories We Tell (2012), which won the New York Film Critics Circle prize and the National Board of Review award for best documentary; the miniseries adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel Alias Grace (2017); and the romantic comedy Take This Waltz (2011). Her latest project is Women Talking (2023), which she adapted from Miriam Toews novel of the same name. It has been nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. As a child she starred in the long-running children’s series Road to Avonlea and in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen@realsarahpolley

Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory

Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory

‘Fascinating, harrowing, courageous, and deeply felt, these explorations of  “dangerous stories”, harmful past events and trials of the soul speak to all who’ve encountered dark waters and have had to navigate them.’


‘An episodic memoir of life as an actor, director and human being unlike any I have ever read … bruisingly intelligent and candid.’

Claire Armitstead, Guardian

‘Insightful, honest, full of humour and compassion, I loved these beautifully written essays on memory, performance and growing older.’

David Nicholls, screenwriter and author of One Day, Us and Sweet Sorrow

Sarah Polley: ‘It took me years to see how responsible Terry Gilliam was for my terror’


Sarah Polley on her unflinching memoir: ‘Can you forgive – and should you forgive?’

Interview with Claire Armitstead, Guardian

‘Over the course of these six essays, she gains in strength and purpose, whether exploring her experience with sexual assault in The Woman Who Stayed Silent; to complications amid pregnancy in High Risk; and making peace with her early life on Road to Avonlea, both conjuring and vanquishing the ghosts that had haunted her. These brilliantly written essays are also about the resilience of the female body, so often a site of struggle but also a site of strength.’

Irish Times


‘A front-rank author of nonfiction … Her style is admirably forensic, her interest in nuance relentless, her readiness to revise her opinions admirable.’

Prospect Magazine 

‘It is dazzling to watch her harness the “transformative power of an ever-evolving relationship to memory”.’

Literary Review


‘These confrontations are highly recommended.’

Sight and Sound


‘These brilliant essays (and Sarah Polley, with her melioristic heart and empathic eye) urge us, by example, towards the examinQed life, the life worth living, and give us a jolt of energy to muster the courage and compassion needed to live it.’



‘[Polley is] a stunningly sophisticated observer of the world and an imperfect witness to the truth.’



‘This is a visceral and incisive collection of six propulsive personal essays that address the exploitation of child actors, the slippery nature of memory, sexual assault, high-risk pregnancy and premature birth, grief, motherhood, and Polley’s three-year recovery from […] concussion.’



‘Sarah Polley understands that questions of conscience are inseparable from the terrors and tenderness of the body, and that courage – moral or physical – is not fearlessness but our relationship to fear. How we confront pain, how we determine what is safe, how we comprehend the depth and limits of our responsibility to others and to ourselves – these are exacting, keening questions. This is a powerful and moving book, both in its seeking and its wisdom.’



‘Sad to be done with @realsarahpolley’s superb memoir, Run Towards the Danger, but very happy I read it. Fascinating life beautifully and unflinchingly explored.’