About Ru

Ru Freeman is a Sri Lankan born writer and activist whose creative and political work has appeared internationally, including in the UK Guardian, The Boston Globe, and the New York Times. She is the author of the short story collection, Sleeping Alone (forthcoming from Graywolf Press, Spring 2022), and the novels A Disobedient Girl (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2009), and On Sal Mal Lane (Graywolf Press), a NYT Editor’s Choice Book. Both novels have been translated into multiple languages including Italian, French, Turkish, Dutch, and Chinese. She is editor of the anthology, Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine (OR Books, 2015 and Interlink, 2016), a collection of the voices of 65 American poets and writers speaking about America’s dis/engagement with Palestine, and co-editor of the anthology, Indivisible: Global Leaders on Shared Security (Interlink, 2019). She holds a graduate degree in labor studies, researching female migrant labor in the countries of Kuwait, the U.A.E, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and has worked at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, in the South Asia office of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL/CIO), and the American Friends Service Committee in their humanitarian and disaster relief programs. 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, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Lannan Foundation. She is the 2014 winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman. She writes for the Huffington Post on books and politics.

Favourite Books


  • Colum McCann, Apeiragon, Transatlantic
  • Ocean Vuong, On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous
  • Jamaica Kincaid, See Now Then
  • Alessandro Baricco, Silk
  • Javier Marias, Thus Bad Begins
  • Isabella Hammad, The Parisienne
  • Barbara Kingsolver, Poisonwood Bible
  • Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Interpreter of Maladies
  • Lynn Freed, Home Ground
  • Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance, Family Matters
  • Justin Torres, We the Animals
  • Jesamyn Ward, Salvage the Bones
  • 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


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


My family:

  • Gamini Seneviratne, Twenty Five Poems: une vie brève mais intense
  • Malinda Seneviratne, Epistles
Ru Freeman
Freeman elucidates not only the complexities of friendship, but the sanctity of motherhood and the pervasiveness of loss, how political corruption and the violence it breeds affects women uniquely. A heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting novel that celebrates our ability to transcend tragedy.— Rishi Reddi, author of Karma and Other Stories and winner of the 2008 PEN/L.L. Winship Award