Sarah Smarsh is the daughter of a teenaged mother, who was the daughter of a teenaged mother, who was the daughter of a teenaged mother. Born into a dirt-poor family in rural Kansas, Smarsh realised young that if she could get educated and not pregnant, she would be able to break the pattern of the women in her family. Her memoir, Heartland, is a wonderful tribute to those women, as well as a proud insider’s look into a culture that is often mocked, reviled and misunderstood, and a searing critique of a political and economic system that entrenches inequality in America. This episode is part of a six-part ‘It’s A Long Story’ series featuring alumni from our All About Women festival. All About Women returns to Sydney Opera House on 8 March 2020.