Sarah’s family had no television for most of her childhood and she was a voracious (if undiscerning) reader. The Armstrongs' weekly trips to Gosford library were legendary.
From the time she was nine she dreamed of writing a novel but ended up studying journalism. After graduating from Mitchell College (later Charles Sturt University), Bathurst with a BA in Communications, Sarah joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a trainee radio journalist, working on the flagship current affairs programs AM, The World Today and PM. In 1993 she won Australia's premier journalistic award, the Walkley Award, for a radio feature on diggers returning to Gallipoli.
She joined ABC TV's Foreign Correspondent program as a researcher and occasional field producer. However, in 1997 she realised that while journalism may have taught her many useful things about writing, the demands of the job would always keep her from writing a novel. She resigned from the ABC and moved to the beautiful sub-tropical north coast of New South Wales. (Sarah recently spoke about her decision to leave journalism to Upstart: The Magazine for Emerging Journalists. You can listen to the interview here.)
The week she moved into a rustic cabin in an overgrown rainforest valley it started raining. The rain continued, without break, for four months, providing inspiration for her first novel. 'Salt Rain' was published in Australasia by Allen & Unwin (2004) and by MacadamCage in North America (2006). Click here to read an excerpt from ‘Salt Rain’ and here to read reviews of the novel.
One of Sarah’s short stories, 'The Long Wet', has been made into a short film by Tristan Bancks, a Byron Bay-based filmmaker and author. An Australian film production company has bought the rights to make a film of 'Salt Rain'. Sarah is currently finishing her second novel.
Sarah has been teaching writing since 2004, in weekly face-to-face classes, writing retreats in Byron Bay and Bali, and via online courses. She has run writing workshops for, among others, the Queensland Writers Centre, Adelaide’s Fringe festival, Northern Rivers Writers Centre and the Byron Bay Writers Festival