Sarai Walker is the American author of The Cherry Robbers (2022) and Dietland (2015). Dietland has been published in over a dozen countries and was adapted as a television series (now on Hulu/Amazon). Walker is an advocate for fat positivity, and her writings aim to redefine the word "fat" as a neutral physical characteristic, similar to terms like "tall" or "short.
Walker grew up in California and Utah. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College and a Ph.D. in English from the University of London.
Sarai has lectured on feminism and body image internationally and has spoken about these topics widely in the media. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Seventeen, and elsewhere. She worked as a writer and editor on an updated version of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
Walker's point of view is based on her belief that literature has not adequately explored the experiences of fat women. Throughout her encounters with fat characters in films, she observed a recurring theme of tragedy, whether it be through murder driven by jealousy, serving as a selfless friend to a conventionally beautiful protagonist to facilitate personal growth, or embarking on desperate weight loss journeys fueled by self-hatred.
In response to this gap in American literature, Walker sought to address the missing elements about fat women through her novel Dietland.
The protagonist, Plum, is a 300-pound woman, and Walker aimed to emphasize that fatness does not always indicate trauma, thereby challenging the common associations tied to being fat and striving to dismantle the stereotype that fat is synonymous with being unhealthy.
Sarai Walker coined the term "Fat Derangement Syndrome" to describe the tendency of individuals to disregard actual scientific studies regarding the health of overweight people and instead rely on the societal devaluation of fat individuals. Walker has openly expressed that London, where she resided for seven years during her graduate studies, was the most fat-shaming city she has ever experienced.
Sarai Walker currently resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Photo credit: www.saraiwalker.com