Sarai Walker is a writer whose book Dietland was identified as one of Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best books of 2015, and has subsequently been turned into a TV series. She has published articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and Refinery29. Walker is a fat positive activist and her writings reflect an attempt to reclaim the word fat as a mere bodily description—like tall or short.
Life and education
Walker grew up in California and Utah, and is now based in New Mexico. Walker received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Bennington College, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of London (2005). Walker started out writing at teen and women's magazines, and later wrote for Our Bodies, Ourselves.
Fat Acceptance Movement and activism
Walker is an adamant supporter of rights and dignity for fat people. As such, she frequently speaks on the assumptions others make about her life because of her body. Ranging from assuming the types of exercises, or lack thereof, to the type of diet she eats, Walker is adamant that people can be healthy at any size and that the mistreatment of her body is a political issue.
Walker also believes that literature has not adequately written about fat women. Her first encounters of fat characters in film always embodied somewhat of a tragedy. If it was murder out of jealousy, being the selfless friend to the beautiful leading character by helping him/her “grow” as a person, or embarking on a desperate journey of losing weight out of self-hatred. Fat people in film usually carried sadness and pity within themselves. Dietland was thus an attempt to cover some of the missing elements in American literature that pertain to fat women. Plum, the main character in Dietland, is a 300 pound woman. Walker also specifically wanted to emphasize that fatness is not always a sign that a person has had trauma, stripping the definition of fatness from its common connotations, and specifically attempting to remove the fundamental stereotype that fat is synonymous with unhealthy. Naming the phenomenon of those who refuse to think fat people can be healthy, Fat Derangement Syndrome, Walker proposes that individuals often do not look at actual scientific studies in regards to the health of fat people, but are more so operating on societal de-valuing of fat people. Walker has publicly stated that London (where she lived for seven years for grad school) was the most fat shaming city she has ever lived in.
In addition to her participation in the Fat Acceptance Movement, Walker is also a feminist and frequently criticizes the objectification of women, and violence against women. She is also clear that she does not write characters that are "perfect women." As an act of feminism, in fact, she purposefully does not concern herself with likeability issues for her characters, and focuses instead on making characters that are accurately flawed. As such, she creates characters that do not fit into the conventions of likeable womanhood (i.e. skinny and kind), and instead writers characters that do not fit neatly into any category.
- "'Dietland': A 'Fight Club' For Women That Reclaims The Word 'Fat'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- "10 Best (And 5 Worst!) Books of 2015". EW.com. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- Andreeva, Nellie (2017-08-16). "'Dietland': Joy Nash Cast As the Lead In AMC's Drama Series From Marti Noxon". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- "Three Years After It Was Published, Sarai Walker's "Dietland" comes to TV—and It's More relevant Than Ever". Bitch Media. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- "Opinion | Yes, I'm Fat. It's O.K. I Said It". Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- "The reaction to Trump's fat-shaming reinforces toxic ideas about fatness". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- Walker, Sarai (2016-08-02). "Sarai Walker: 'I stopped holding back, and my writing had a new energy'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- "We Are All Suffering From Fat Derangement Syndrome". Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- "'You Cannot Shame Me': 2 New Books Tear Down 'Fat Girl' Stereotypes". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
- "'Dietland': A 'Fight Club' For Women That Reclaims The Word 'Fat'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
- Mahdawi, Arwa (2016-04-27). "Dietland author Sarai Walker: 'London is the most fat-shaming place I've been'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
- "Sarai Walker: Fat Positive Activist, Author Of Dietland". Ravishly | Media Company. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
- "What "Fat Acceptance" Really Means". Retrieved 2018-07-26.
- "What You Need to Know About "Dietland," Sarai Walker's Debut Novel - Man Repeller". Man Repeller. 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
- "The fat and the furious: will Dietland change the world for fat women?". Retrieved 2018-08-06.
- "5 Questions for Sarai Walker". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
- Shire, Emily (2016-01-28). "Don't Make Barbie's Body Crisis Ours". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2018-07-26.