Photo by Inés Berrizbeitia
Saloma Miller Furlong is a writer, author, and speaker who was born and raised in an Amish community in northeastern Ohio. Bound by her desire for freedom and more formal education, she left her community at age twenty. She returned and taught in an Amish one-room school for two years before leaving again. With the eighth-grade education of her childhood, she acquired her GED, enrolled in community college courses, and became an Ada Comstock scholar at Smith College. She completed an internship with Dr. Donald Kraybill at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College. She studied at the University of Hamburg in Germany for a semester and in 2007 graduated from Smith College with a major in German Studies and a minor in Philosophy.
Saloma appeared in two PBS documentaries “The Amish” and “The Amish: Shunned” that aired on American Experience in 2012 and 2014, respectively. She was interviewed by Steve Dubner on Freakonomics Radio for a program called “The Upside of Quitting.” She has published two books, Why I Left the Amish, finalist for the 2011 Forward Reviews Book of the Year Award (BOTYA) and Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds. She won first prize for non-fiction from the Tucson Festival of Books contest in 2018. Her writing has appeared in The Cleveland Plain Dealer and other publications about conflicts that arise at the intersection between the Amish and mainstream cultures. She writes the blog “About Amish.” She has spoken at colleges and universities, libraries, bookstores, and conferences in twenty-seven states.
After raising two sons in Vermont, Saloma and her husband, David, moved to the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts for ten years, and now they live in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. They both like to discover new birds, travel, garden, and entertain friends (in normal times). When she isn’t writing or working at her job as office manager at Park View Mennonite Church, Saloma enjoys playing online Scrabble or practicing the Amish homespun arts she learned from her mother.