MacArthur Fellows Program

John Sayles

Filmmaker and Writer | Class of February 1983

Title
Filmmaker and Writer
Location
New Jersey
Age
33 at time of award
Area of Focus
Moving Image

John Sayles is a writer of fiction and screenplays and a director of films.

In his work, Sayles uses storytelling to bring together people separated by race, ethnicity, class, age, or sex.  The subjects of his many films have ranged from the 1919 Black Sox scandal, to the story of a girl living with her grandparents in County Donegal, Ireland, to a Florida beach community’s transition from small town to corporate resort complex.  In all of his fiction, screenplays, and films, Sayles emphasizes the political and interpersonal facets of his plots.

Sayles’s published work includes the novels Pride of the Bimbos (1975), Union Dues (1977), and Los Gusanos (1991), and the short story collections, The Anarchists’ Convention (1979) and Dillinger in Hollywood: New and Selected Stories (2004).  He has written and directed numerous films, including Return of the Secaucus Seven (1978), Lianna (1982), Baby, It’s You (1983), The Brother from Another Planet (1984), Matewan (1987), Eight Men Out (1989), City of Hope (1991), Passion Fish (1993), The Secret of Roan Inish (1995), Lone Star (1996), Men With Guns (1997), Limbo (1999), Sunshine State (2002), Casa de los Babys (2003), and Silver City (2004).

Sayles received a B.A. (1972) from Williams College.

Recent News

John Sayles has written and directed eighteen feature films and written two short story collections and four novels, the last being A Moment in the Sun, published by McSweeney’s in 2011. He continues to be a screenwriter for hire and recently completed his one hundredth screenplay.

Updated July 2015

News About this Fellow
March 9, 2016
"Meet Indie Film Hero John Sayles"
Earwolf
John Sayles , 1983 MacArthur Fellow
October 13, 2015
"John Sayles Tapped to Write New 'Django' Western (Exclusive)"
The Hollywood Reporter
John Sayles , 1983 MacArthur Fellow
June 12, 2015
"John Sayles To Adapt Frank Herbert's Soul Catcher"
Empire Magazine
John Sayles , 1983 MacArthur Fellow
December 5, 2014
"The Necessity of Independent Voices: John Sayles"
Yale Daily News
John Sayles , 1983 MacArthur Fellow
September 25, 2014
"There Is Power in a Union, Says John Sayles"
A.V. Club
John Sayles , 1983 MacArthur Fellow
November 1, 2013
"Director John Sayles: Harder Now to Make a Living Off Indies"
Long Island Newsday
John Sayles, 1983 MacArthur Fellow
October 8, 2013
"John Sayles Gives His Film Archives to UM"
Crain's Detroit Business
John Sayles, 1983 MacArthur Fellow
June 6, 2011
"John Sayles"
A.V. Club
John Sayles , 1983 MacArthur Fellow
View all news
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