The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, Unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us
by Megan Campisi
In 16th century England, 14-year-old May Owens, orphaned and starving, steals a loaf of bread and is thrown into jail. When her courtroom hearing finally comes up, she is shocked and horrified by the judge’s severe, unusual sentence: she is condemned to become a Sin Eater and is brutally marked for life. Based on a rarely recorded but nevertheless real role in history, a Sin Eater’s duty is a necessary evil: she hears the final private confessions of the dying, eats their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulders their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven. « It is always women who Eat sins, since it’s Eve who first Ate a sin: the Forbidden Fruit,” and every town has at least one—not that they are publicly acknowledged. Stained by the sins of every citizen, the Sin Eater is shunned and silenced, doomed to live as an outcast at the edge of town. It’s a devastating sentence, but May’s new invisibility does open new doors. When one, then two of the Queen’s courtiers suddenly grow ill, only May learns the secrets dying with them—and begins to investigate the sins whispered of amid the palace corridors.
SIN EATER by Megan Campisi is an extraordinary, lyrical feat of imagination. Chaucerian in its cast of characters, harkening to Madeline Miller and Margaret Atwood in its inventive exploration of history and womanhood, this is the story of a world where treason and secrets abound within a corrupt, violent Court—and a shunned young woman must uncover the long buried secret which has resurfaced with a vengeance.
Megan Campisi is a playwright and novelist. She received the French Alfa and ADAMI prizes for new plays and has been a finalist for the New York Jerome Fellowship and a semifinalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Her plays have performed in France, China and the United States. She is a current Fulbright Specialist in theater and holds a BA from Yale and a Diplôme (MFA) from L’Ecole de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris.