ABOUT SOPHY

SOPHY BURNHAM GREW UP IN THE HORSE COUNTRY OF MARYLAND, ATTENDED PRIVATE GIRLS' SCHOOLS AND GRADUATED FROM SMITH COLLEGE IN NORTHAMPTON, MASSACHUSETTS, WITH HONORS IN ITALIAN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE. SHE WROTE HER THESIS ON THE WRITER ITALO SVEVO (A FRIEND OF JAMES JOYCE) AND THE NATURE OF REALITY.

AFTER COLLEGE, SOPHY TOOK A JOB AS A CLERK AT THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, AND WHEN SHE LEFT SIX YEARS LATER, WAS HEAD OF THE ORGANIZATION'S NEWLY ESTABLISHED FILM AND TELEVISION STUDIOS. SHE PRODUCED TWO FILMS AND A TV PROGRAM FOR THE SMITHSONIAN, ONE OF WHICH WAS SENT TO THE VENICE FILM FESTIVAL. THE SMITHSONIAN PUBLISHED HER FIRST "BOOK," A PAMPHLET ON THE EXHIBITS.

WHEN HER HUSBAND ACCEPTED A JOB IN NEW YORK CITY, SHE MOVED TO THE BIG APPLE. THERE SHE DISCOVERED THAT YOUNG GIRLS (IN THOSE DAYS ANYWAY) DID NOT WRITE AND DIRECT AND PRODUCE FILMS, AND WANTING TIME TO BE WITH HER NEW BABY, SARAH, SHE DECIDED TO TEACH HERSELF TO WRITE. SHE'D DO IT, SHE DECIDED, BY SELLING ARTICLES TO MAGAZINES, AND IN A FEW YEARS HAD PUBLISHED IN ESQUIRE, NEW YORK, REDBOOK, TOWN AND COUNTRY, THE READER'S DIGEST AND THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE. NOW FULLY IMMERSED IN THE WRITING WORLD, SOPHY, AT THE AGE OF 33, FINISHED HER FIRST NONFICTION BOOK, THE ART CROWD, AN EXPLOSIVE WORK OF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING THAT EXPOSED THE CORRUPTION OF THE CONTEMPORARY ART MARKET OF DEALERS, AUCTIONS, CRITICS, COLLECTORS AND MUSEUMS. IT WAS HER FIRST BESTSELLER. IN THE PROCESS, SOPHY SO IMPRESSED HER PUBLISHING HOUSE, DAVID MCKAY, THAT SHE BEGAN PART-TIME WORK THERE AS AN ACQUISITIONS EDITOR.

A FEW YEARS LATER SOPHY, HER HUSBAND AND THEIR TWO DAUGHTERS, SARAH AND MOLLY, RETURNED TO WASHINGTON, D.C. IN ADDITION TO WRITING MORE WORKS OF NONFICTION, SOPHY WROTE AWARD-WINNING PLAYS FOR STAGE AND RADIO AS WELL AS TWO CHILDREN'S NOVELS THAT SERVED AS HER TRAINING GROUND FOR THE ADULT NOVELS AND SPIRITUALLY INCLINED BOOKS FOR WHICH SHE HAS BECOME WORLD RENOWNED.

MEANWHILE, ACTIVE IN THE D. C. THEATER COMMUNITY, SHE WAS A FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE STUDIO THEATER IN WASHINGTON, AS WELL AS OF THE D.C. COMMUNITY HUMANITIES COUNCIL, (THE RE-GRANTING ARM OF THE NATIONAL HUMANITIES COUNCIL). IN 1991, SHE BECAME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE FUND FOR NEW AMERICAN PLAYS AT THE JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, WHERE SHE WORKED CLOSELY FOR FIVE YEARS WITH FAMED BROADWAY PRODUCER ROGER STEVENS, AWARDING MONEY TO THEATERS TO PRODUCE NEW PLAYS AND TO PLAYWRIGHTS TO WRITE THEM.

TODAY, SOPHY DIVIDES HER TIME BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND TAOS, NEW MEXICO. SHE DELIGHTS IN SPENDING TIME WITH FRIENDS, HER DAUGHTERS AND FOUR GRANDDAUGHTERS AND WITH HER BEAUTIFUL HORSE.

SOPHY IS A PROLIFIC PUBLIC SPEAKER, FREQUENTLY GIVING WORKSHOPS AND TALKS ON A WIDE RANGE OF TOPICS, FROM THE SPIRITUAL TO THE CREATIVE PROCESS AND WRITING.

MEMBER
THE COSMOS CLUB, WASHINGTON, D.C.



PERSONAL MUSINGS

WHO AM I?
I AM A FLICKER OF SPIRIT INCARNATED INTO THIS BODY, WHICH CAME FROM THE SOURCE, WILL ENDURE A BRIEF TIME HERE, AND THEN RETURN.
I HAVE A GIFT, A TALENT FOR WRITING, AND I THINK MY MISSION IS TO EXPLORE THIS PHYSICAL WORLD (WITH ALL ITS BEAUTY AND SORROWS), LEARN, TEACH, AND IMPART WHAT LITTLE WISDOM I MAY HAVE. I AM A STORYTELLER. MY AIM IS TO MOVE THE MINDS AND HEARTS OF PEOPLE EVERYWHERE.

WHY AM I HERE?
FOR DECADES I HAVE ASKED MYSELF THAT QUESTION. PRETENTIOUS AS IT SOUNDS, I THINK MY PURPOSE IS TO TASTE LIFE TO THE FULLEST, AND AS FAR AS POSSIBLE TO HELP OTHERS, ESPECIALLY THOSE IN PAIN OR SUFFERING. BUT MAYBE IT'S JUST TO LEARN TO LOVE MORE DEEPLY. OR MAYBE TO REACH THAT STATE OF PURE CONSCIOUSNESS THAT WE CALL ENLIGHTENMENT. TO GAIN "THE PEACE THAT PASSETH UNDERSTANDING."

WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME?
THIS HAS CHANGED OVER TIME. WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL, I PRAYED TO BE BEAUTIFUL. EVEN AT AGE FIVE OR SIX I COULD SEE THAT BEAUTY IMPARTED POWER – YOU GOT THINGS BY BEING PRETTY! WHEN I WAS TWELVE I HAD A DIFFERENT PRAYER. I REMEMBER PRAYING URGENTLY TO BE A BOY. I DIDN'T WANT TO BE STUCK WITH HOUSEWORK, WHICH WAS WHAT GIRLS DID IN THOSE YEARS! LATER, WHEN IT BECAME CLEAR THAT THAT PRAYER WASN'T BEING ANSWERED, I ACCEPTED MY FATE – ONLY TO DISCOVER A FEW YEARS LATER THE ENORMOUS POWER GIRLS HAVE OVER BOYS. NOW, YEARS LATER, I REALIZE THE PRAYER WAS ANSWERED ALL ALONG. IT WASN'T THAT I'D WANTED TO BE A BOY: WHAT I'D WANTED WAS THE INDEPENDENCE, CREATIVITY, CHANCES AND CHOICES OPEN TO BOYS – THE CHANCE TO STRIVE FOR MY HIGHEST POTENTIAL. AND I'VE HAD IT.

LATER STILL, AS A TEENAGER, MY PRAYER WAS SIMPLY TO UNDERSTAND! "UNDERSTAND WHAT," YOU ASK? ALL OF IT! WHY ARE WE HERE? WHAT IS THIS STRANGE PLANET ABOUT? WHAT'S GOING ON? AND AFTER DECADES OF SEARCHING, I'LL TELL YOU WHAT I THINK IT IS:

I THINK WHAT'S GOING ON, IS LOVE.

WHAT ELSE IS IMPORTANT TO ME? MY TWO BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS, MY FOUR LITTLE GRANDDAUGHTERS. MY FRIENDS. MY EXTENDED FAMILY OF BROTHER, SISTER, NIECES, NEPHEWS, EX-HUSBAND AND HIS FAMILY, THE EVER-WIDENING RIPPLES OF PEOPLE AND PLACES THAT LIVE IN MY HEART. AND OF COURSE MY WORK. I LOVE WORDS. I LOVE TO WRITE.

WHAT DO I LIKE TO DO?
WHAT I LIKE TO DO MOST IS RIDE MY BEAUTIFUL HALF-ARABIAN HORSE. I'M LEARNING DRESSAGE. I DANCE, DO YOGA, PLAY WITH MY GRANDCHILDREN, WRITE, WALK, TRAVEL, SEE FRIENDS, AND FEEL MYSELF UTTERLY BLESSED.

MY SORROW IS THAT TWO OF MY BOOKS HAVE NOT YET BEEN PICKED UP BY A PUBLISHER. IS THAT BECAUSE THEY REALLY AREN'T ANY GOOD?