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Ruta Sepetys

International bestselling author of Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy

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  • About Ruta Sepetys

    In 2011, author Ruta Sepetys published her debut novel, Between Shades of Gray, a poignant account of Joseph Stalin’s ethnic cleansing in the Baltic countries during WWII as seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old Lithuanian girl.  Between Shades of Gray went on to become an international bestseller and one of the most acclaimed novels of the year, landing on numerous Best Book of the Year lists, including those from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Publishers Weekly. With prose “restrained and powerful” (The Washington Post), Ruta Sepetys’s “heart-wrenching” (The Los Angeles Times), “engrossing and poignant” (The Associated Press) novel went on to garner the Indies Choice Best Young Adult Book of the Year.

    Her next novel, Out of the Easy, was named one of Bookspan’s top thirteen new books of 2013. It is a rich and poignant historical coming-of-age novel that firmly establishes Sepetys as one of today’s most talented writers. Sepetys continued to explore little-known stories from history in her bestselling book, Salt to the Sea, which unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a WWII—the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff that claimed 9,400 lives—and was the recipient of the Carnegie Medal.

    Sepetys’ most recent novel, The Fountains of Silence, explores the hidden truths of surviving in Franco-era Spain and was an instant New York Times bestseller. The Fountains of Silence was selected as the 2019 Goodreads Choice Award Finalist and named one of the best books 0f 2019 by Wall Street Journal and Entertainment Weekly, among others.

    Ruta Sepetys is a truly gifted speaker who knows how to connect to – and reel in – her audience. She has been described as “a spectacular speaker. As in mind blowing, jaw dropping, side splitting, hands down one-of-the-best-visiting-authors-in-the-world good” by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Sepetys has visited schools in over twenty countries and has done several community reads programs. She has presented dozens of lectures and keynotes ranging from events at European Parliament, International Embassies, educational conferences, professional development events, and writing conferences.

    Born and raised in Michigan, Sepetys grew up in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. As the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, Sepetys was bestowed the Cross of the Knight of the Order by the President of Lithuania for her contributions to education and memory preservation. She currently lives with her husband in Tennessee.

  • Speaking Topics

    Out of the Easy

    Between Shades of Gray

  • Video

  • Praise for Ruta Sepetys

    Praise for The Fountains of Silence

    Spain under Francisco Franco is as dystopian a setting as Margaret Atwood’s Gilead in Ruta Sepetys’s suspenseful, romantic and timely new work of historical fiction. The Fountains of Silence speaks truth to power, persuading future rulers to avoid repeating the crimes of the past.

    The New York Times

    Gripping. Full of twists and revelations. Ruta Sepetys is the finest writer of historical fiction working today.

    The Wall Street Journal

    A staggering tale of love, loss, and national shame… Sepetys triumphs with this towering work of historical insight, somehow managing to both devastate and give you faith in the expansive generosity of the human spirit.

    Entertainment Weekly

    Full of both beauty and terror. The Fountains of Silence may be about things that went unsaid for decades, but it speaks its truth loud and clear.

    NPR

    A masterwork of historical fiction. Sepetys is the matador, the reader is the bull, and each time one attempts to close the book, a new piece of information flashes before you like a blood red cape, and you take off running.

    The Harvard Crimson

    [Sepetys] tells a moving story made even more powerful by its placement in a lesser-known historical moment. Captivating, deft, and illuminating historical fiction.

    Booklist, *STARRED REVIEW*

    An up-close and personal view of a chilling time in Spain’s history.

    Shelf Awareness (starred review)

    Gripping historical fiction with great crossover appeal.

    BookPage (starred review)

    Will keep young adults as well as adults interested from the first page to the last.

    School Library Connection (starred review)

    Compelling.

    The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

    An exemplary work of historical fiction.

    The Horn Book Review (starred review)

    A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience.

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    Gripping.

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    Praise for Salt to the Sea

    This haunting gem of a novel begs to be remembered, and in turn, it tries to remember the thousands of real people its fictional characters represent. What it asks of us is that their memories, and their stories, not be abandoned to the sea.

    Booklist (starred review)

    Sepetys excels in shining light on lost chapters of history, and this visceral novel proves a memorable testament to strength and resilience in the face of war and cruelty.

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    Ruta Sepetys is a master of historical fiction. In Salt to the Sea the hard truths of her herculean research are tempered with effortless, intimate storytelling, as her warm and human characters breathe new life into one of the world’s most terrible and neglected tragedies.

    Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Printz Award Honor Book Code Name Verity
  • Books by Ruta Sepetys

  • Media About Ruta Sepetys

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Ruta Sepetys travels from Nashville, TN

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