Sarah Sentilles: Draw Your Weapons
Sarah Sentilles digs into our world’s most brutal and profound instincts with critic and writer Maria Tumarkin.
Across four books, and the striking Drone Alerts project, Sentilles has plumbed questions of spirituality and absolution, life and death. In Draw Your Weapons, Sentilles turns her eye to art and war; metaphor and survival. How do we create, accept, understand and recover from violence? How do we live with it?
In a deft and genre-crossing exposition, Draw Your Weapons deploys ideas from memoir, criticism, journalism, literature, visual culture and theology. It centres on two people – one a former prison guard at Abu Ghraib, the other a conscientious objector to World War II – and the work of understanding suffering, and rediscovering dignity, through art. In breathless reviews, critics have likened it to Maggie Nelson or Susan Sontag, and labelled it transformative, fierce and brilliant.
A former theologian, Sarah Sentilles completed her undergraduate degree at Yale and both a Masters and a Doctorate at Harvard. She was a college professor for over a decade before becoming a full time writer and is now a passionate advocate for life lived by peace and principle. She is the author of Taught by America: A Story of Struggle and Hope in Compton, A Church of her Own: What Happens When A Woman Takes the Pulpit, Breaking Up With God: A Love Story, and Draw Your Weapons. She lives in Idaho.
‘I am counting on you not to grow up into one of those sensible, strategic people who always calculate odds and risks before acting. Trust me, there are enough of them in the world already.’
According to Helen Garner, ‘Nobody can write like Maria Tumarkin’. A writer and cultural historian, Tumarkin is the author of four books of ideas: Traumascapes, Courage, Otherland and the boundary- breaking, award-winning Axiomatic. She teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne.