About Ru

Ru Freeman was born into a family of writers and many boys in Colombo, Sri Lanka. After a year of informal study at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, she arrived in the United States with a Parker ink pen and a box of Staedler pencils to attend Bates College in Maine. She completed her Masters in Labor Relations at the University of Colombo, and worked in the field of American and international humanitarian assistance and workers’ rights. Her political writing has appeared in English and in translation. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in VQR, Guernica, World Literature Today and elsewhere. She is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review, and a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is the author of the novel A Disobedient Girl (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2009), and On Sal Mal Lane (Graywolf Press), both of which were long-listed for the DCS Prize for South Asian Literature, and translated into multiple languages including Hebrew, French, Italian, and Chinese. She is editor of the anthology, Extraordinary Rendition (OR Books, 2015), a collection of the voices of American poets and writers speaking about America’s dis/engagement with Palestine. She is the 2014 winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman. She calls both Sri Lanka and America home and writes about the people and countries underneath her skin.

Favourite Books

Fiction:

  • Barbara Kingsolver, Poisonwood Bible
  • Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Interpreter of Maladies
  • Lynn Freed, Home Ground
  • Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance
  • Ursula Hegi, Stones From the River
  • T. Corraghessan Boyle, The Tortilla Curtain
  • Toni Morrison, Sula, Tar Baby
  • Vikram Seth, The Golden Gate
  • Wendell Barry, The Memory of Old Jack

Nonfiction:

  • Ted Conover, New Jack
  • Michael Collier, Make Us Wave Back
  • Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird
  • Michael Ondaatje, Running In the Family

Poetry:

  • Catherine Barnett, Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes are Pierced
  • Mahmoud Dharwish, Unfortunately It Was Paradise
  • Yehuda Amichai, Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai

My family:

  • Gamini Seneviratne, Twenty Five Poems: une vie brève mais intense
  • Malinda Seneviratne, Epistles
Ru Freeman
Evocative and moving. Ru Freeman is a marvelous storyteller who sees deeply into the complex layers of compassion and love, of sorrow and betrayal. An amazing first novel.— Ursula Hegi, author of Stones From The River and The Worst Thing I Have Done