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Publisher's Summary

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER 

“Fascinating, harrowing, courageous, and deeply felt, these explorations of ‘dangerous stories,’ harmful past events, and trials of the soul speak to all who’ve encountered dark waters and have had to navigate them.” (Margaret Atwood via Twitter)

“Sarah Polley tells us the truth, even when it feels razor sharp—even when it feels dangerous. These brilliant essays urge us, by example, towards the examined life, the life worth living, and give us a jolt of energy to muster the courage and compassion needed to live it.” (Miriam Toews, best-selling author of Women Talking)

Named a Most-Anticipated Book of 2022 by Entertainment Weekly, Lit Hub, and AV Club 

Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director, and actor Sarah Polley’s Run Towards the Danger explores memory and the dialogue between her past and her present.

These are the most dangerous stories of my life. The ones I have avoided, the ones I haven’t told, the ones that have kept me awake on countless nights. As these stories found echoes in my adult life, and then went another, better way than they did in childhood, they became lighter and easier to carry.

Sarah Polley’s work as an actor, screenwriter, and director is celebrated for its honesty, complexity, and deep humanity. She brings all of those qualities along with her exquisite storytelling chops to these six essays. Each one captures a piece of Polley’s life as she remembers it, while at the same time examining the fallibility of memory, the mutability of reality in the mind, and the possibility of experiencing the past anew, as the person you are now but were not then. As Polley writes, the past and present are in a “reciprocal pressure dance”.

Polley contemplates stories from her own life ranging from stage fright to high risk childbirth to endangerment and more. After struggling with the aftermath of a concussion, Polley met a specialist who gave her wholly new advice: To recover from a traumatic injury, she had to retrain her mind to strength by charging towards the very activities that triggered her symptoms. With riveting clarity, she shows the power of applying that same advice to other areas of her life in order to find a path forward, a way through. Rather than live in a protective crouch, she had to run towards the danger.

In this extraordinary book, Sarah Polley explores what it is to live in one’s body, in a constant state of becoming, learning, and changing.

©2022 Sarah Polley (P)2022 Hamish Hamilton

What the critics say

“In Run Towards the Danger, Sarah Polley does just that. She tells us the truth, even when it feels razor sharp - even when it feels dangerous. She rips away at painful past experiences that she’s never shared before, and in this way emboldens us to sharpen our gaze on the shadowed moments in our own past, to understand their provenance and to bring meaning to them. She shows us how, by doing this, we can begin to move towards that specific peace of mind - you might even call it joy - that comes with confronting our demons and knowing ourselves. These brilliant essays (and Sarah Polley, with her melioristic heart and empathic eye) urge us, by example, towards the examined life, the life worth living, and give us a jolt of energy to muster the courage and compassion needed to live it.” (Miriam Toews, best-selling author of Women Talking and All My Puny Sorrows)

“Sarah Polley understands that questions of conscience are inseparable from the terrors and tenderness of the body, and that courage - moral or physical - is not fearlessness but our relationship to fear. How we confront pain, how we determine what is safe, how we comprehend the depth and limits of our responsibility to others and to ourselves - these are exacting, keening questions. This is a powerful and moving book, both in its seeking and its wisdom.” (Anne Michaels, Giller-shortlisted author of Fugitive Pieces and All We Saw)

What listeners say about Run Towards the Danger

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Amazing Book, Eye Opening

I knew very little about Sarah Polley aside from her CBC work. I heard an interview with her on Canadaland and became interested in her story. Her essays are amazing, and her strength and honesty while discussing the topics are beyond inspiring. Thank you Sarah.

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A journey of empathy

I teared up many times listening to Sarah’s memoir. Her insights, brave self-examination, questioning of memory and her growth are astonishing. Listening to her personal essays, I felt I knew myself better. I found so much I could relate to - as a mother, a woman working in a misogynistic industry, the anguish of women revealing sexual assault, and having dealt with concussion symptoms for years and the trials of breastfeeding. She covers a lot of ground, and had me riveted every second.

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an important read for folks working in film/TV

Sarah Polley crafted a surprising, insightful, and compulsive read. Very much a coming-of-age narrative, wrapped inside the self-examination of adulthood. An important piece to read for folks working in the film and television industry. Polley documents abuse on set and the life-altering impacts of being a child actor... but you don't need to know her career to find this read compelling. This book should attract readers interested in complex storytelling, nuanced perspectives, and a poetic femme energy - honed by years of cultural work and refined by psychoanalysis. At times, her stories were hard to listen to - but as the narrator, Polley guides you through with feeling and gentleness. Take a listen.

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Can’t put it down

Riveting. Revelatory. Important. Read it in a handful of sittings. I recommend it to everyone: parents, friends who’ve had concussions, fans of literature and film, creatives. Sarah Polley says so many things I never had words for. Thank you.

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Sarah Polley! what an excellent storyteller.

attack! attack! attack! attack!

some unforgettable and fun moments in stories with gravity, told with intellect and care.

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one of the best books I've read

brilliant. so honest and compelling, I couldn't stop listening. everyone should read this book. thank you sarah

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Lost the bravery sweet spot

At one point in the narrative Polly says something like find your bravery sweet spot by not following good advice. Then she she just blithely follows the advice of attorneys (good advice as she categorizes it) and chickens out on testifying against Gomeshi. What happened to her rebellious sweet bravery? She said wrote and rewrote that chapter, wondering who she might have hurt by not testifying. Answer: many, many of us.

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Fellow Torotonian

I was born in 82 and live in Toronto so, Sarah and her riveting life have been orbiting my small Canadian world for some time. It's so wonderful to hear all the beautiful silver linigs to the harrowing tales of fear and adventure. I'm a cis gender hetero bro but I found myself tearful in the parts about child bearing and loss. But also frequently bursting out with laughter at several funny moments which made me look crazy on the TTC. Thanks for sharing, Mrs. Polley.

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Sarah Polley's book is heartfelt

This is a book I was a bit afraid to read as someone that has lived a traumatic experience. But, I am glad I decided to read it... run toward the danger! Sarah Polley is so insightful and her commentary is so truthful and in so far as our memories can carry flaws. I learned about Sarah's incredible life as a child actor, some of her scariest memories, and the life she now leads. This is a post me-too movement book and I adore Sarah for finding a safe space in which she can tell her story.

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Great narrator

loved the narrator and an interesting perspective .
I've never thought of what a child actor or actors may have endured.