the literate lens

photography, writing and the spaces between

Sad news and a new book

It is with profound sadness that The Literate Lens shares with its readership the recent passing of its founder, Sarah Coleman. Sarah passed away on December 3rd after a tenacious two-year battle with lung cancer. As followers of this blog doubtlessly recognize, the illness took her at the peak of an amazingly creative, reflective and literary life, and we are all devastated by her loss. We would like to thank you, her readers, for your patronage, comments, likes and shares over the Literate Lens’s five-year run, and invite you to continue to share your thoughts and reflections on its posts here as well as on the blog’s Facebook page (

RealistFrontCover_smallWe also would like to share news of the launch of The Realist, the novel to which Sarah devoted the last six years. Based on the remarkable life of the pioneering photographer Berenice Abbott, The Realist is an impeccably-researched, exquisitely-worded read that transports us from the gritty Bohemia of 1920’s Greenwich Village to the clamorous cafés of 1920s Paris to post-Depression New York City, rising from its own ashes. It is as full of Sarah’s photographic insight and incomparable wit and eloquence as is her blog, and we urge you to explore it on as well as on

Thank you once more for your loyalty and appreciation over the past five years. The world feels like a slightly dimmer, less eloquent place for Sarah’s loss, but we remain profoundly grateful for all she gave us in life, and the remarkable literary legacy she left behind.


11 comments on “Sad news and a new book

  1. Saul Robbins
    December 8, 2017

    Dear Family and Friends of Sarah,

    It is with profound sadness and sense of loss that I read about Sarah’s death. She and I met in 2014 at Photoville where I had a pop-up office and she interviewed me and also had her own session with me. We also discussed her book about Bernice Abbott, and how hard it was to find a publisher. Since then we ran into each other at the farmer’s market on 97 St and around town, but I had no idea of how much she was struggling with lung cancer.

    Sarah was an amazingly thoughtful and insightful woman and writer and I hardly knew her. I can not imagine how deeply her absence will be felt in your family and her circle of close friends.

    With the deepest of sympathies and heartfelt compassion, and may her memory be full of many blessings for all of you.

    Saul Robbins

    Facebook: SaulRobbins Linkedin: Saul Robbins Instagram: Saul.Robbins Skype: SaulRobbins


    December 8, 2017

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I have been only an occasional reader for a few years and though I am neither an art nor photography aficionado when I happened upon her blog I was immediately struck by the uniqueness of what she was doing, her insights, her skillful writing and her sheer talent.

  3. whitney otto
    December 8, 2017

    I am so sorry to hear of Sarah’s passing. We meet by phone years ago when she reviewed a novel I had written about women photographers, finding we had much in common. Spoke on the phone a few times after that. She asked me to read her marvelous novel about Berenice Abbott, sending me the manuscript. It is an excellent novel, well researched and beautifully written. We stayed in touch for years, by email. I was saddened when she told me about her diagnosis, and hopeful when it seemed she was doing well and for longer. Then I saw this this morning and I am saddened all over again. My heart goes out to her family. She was a wonderful person and a good writer.

  4. dawnmattocksmakeup
    December 8, 2017

    Please accept my deepest regards and sympathetic feelings. I will keep Sarah’s family in my thoughts and prayers~

    Warmest regards,

    Dawn Mattocks TV PRINT VIDEO Makeup & Hair Wardrobe Styling 323-251-3305 cell

    Pardon the typos, sent from an iPhone


  5. Xiomáro
    December 8, 2017

    When I get busy and am unable to read immediately, I save the emails announcing that Sarah has a new post so that I can return to it later when I am not in a rush. Her’s is one of the very few blogs that I do that for as her writing is worth a deliberate read instead of a quick scan. That she was able to research and write both a blog and a novel is all the more amazing considering her illness. My condolences to her family and friends.

  6. Lynette Wilson
    December 8, 2017

    I am so very sad to hear this news. I had the privilege of teaching both Sarah’s children and know their loss will be devestating for them. She was a generous, intelligent, passionate person. Deepest sympathy to all.

    • dpwe
      December 8, 2017

      How nice to hear from you, Lynette, and thanks for your kind thoughts. I hope all is well with you; we are OK.

  7. rhondapryor
    December 8, 2017

    Dreadful news. So sad to hear of this.

  8. rc
    December 9, 2017

    I am so sorry and so deeply saddened to hear this. I had the great pleasure of meeting Sarah at my home in London a while ago and she kindly gave me so much of her time along with a very generously written review of my work. I was honoured to meet her and remain so grateful for our afternoon together. She was an absolutely lovely and joyous person.

  9. Mary
    December 10, 2017

    My deepest condolences. I am sad but grateful to have read Sarah’s posts.

  10. Stephen Kane
    December 18, 2017

    Although I knew Sarah only through her wonderful blog, this news was still a gut punch. Selfishly, I was looking forward to many more years of reading pleasure, and a book or three. I am so sorry for your loss.

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