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Expertise: Central and South America; Mexico; Post-Communist Societies; Migration; Media; Civil Liberties; Global Youth
Stephanie Elizondo Griest is a Chicana author, speaker, and activist from South Texas. Her memoir, Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana (Villard/Random House, 2004) documents her four-year excursion to 12 communist and post-communist societies, where--among other things -- she taught journalism at China Daily as a Henry Luce Scholar and volunteered at a Russian children's shelter. It won the National Association of Travel Journalists of America's "Best Travel Book of 2004" award. Her guidebook, 100 Places Every Woman Should Go (Travelers' Tales, 2007), has been translated into Spanish and Portuguese and is currently in its sixth printing. Her latest book, Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines (Washington Square Press, August 2008) documents the year she spent traveling across Mexico, interviewing undocumented workers, indigenous resistance fighters, Zapatistas, and rebel teachers in Oaxaca. Excerpts of the book won the 2007 Richard J. Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting. Griest was recently named series editor of Best Women's Travel Writing, and her first anthology will be published in February 2010.
Griest has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Texas Monthly, the Associated Press, Latina Magazine, Poets & Writers, World Pulse, and Bitch. As a national correspondent for The Odyssey: US Trek, she once drove 45,000 miles across the United States, documenting histories traditionally left out of classroom textbooks for a Web site monitored by 500,000 K-12 students. The co-founder and director of the Youth Free Expression Network, a project of the National Coalition Against Censorship, she frequently writes and speaks out for the civil liberties of young people.
A sought-after public speaker, Griest has performed in venues ranging from Royal Festival Hall in London to salons in Mexico to universities, public schools, and community centers throughout the United States. She can be contacted via her Web site at www.aroundthebloc.com.
Honors & Affiliations:
Griest won the 2007 Richard J. Margolis Award. The Richard J. Margolis Award is given annually to a promising nonfiction writer whose work combines warmth, humor, wisdom and concern with social justice. The award was established in honor of Richard J. Margolis, a journalist, essayist and poet who gave eloquent voice to the hardships of the rural poor, migrant farm workers, the elderly, Native Americans and others who are seldom heard. He was also the author of a number of books for children. The 2007 award is accompanied by a $5,000 honorarium and a one-month residency at Blue Mountain Center (Blue Mountain, New York), the award's sponsor. For more on the Margolis Award, visit www.margolis.com/award.
While pursuing an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa as a Dean's Graduate Fellow, Griest is writing a fourth work that will examine the many manifestations of silence, from a religious "vow of silence" to censorship; from a reverent "moment of silence" to solitary confinement; from "silent treatment" to deafness.
She won a Hodder Fellowship to Princeton University for the 2005-2006 academic year, and has held residencies at Can Serrat in Barcelona, Spain; the Art Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, New York; the Writer's Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas; the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, Nebraska; and Ragdale in Lake Forest, Illinois. Griest has also been awarded honors and scholarships from the following organizations: El Andar, USA Today, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Freedom Forum, the Network of Hispanic Communicators, the Headliners Foundation, the Pan-American Golf Writer's Association, Scripps-Howard, the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the University of Texas at Austin's School of Journalism.
Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana has been named "Book of the Year" by the Mayor's Book Club of Austin, Texas; "Best Travel Book of 2004" by the National Association of Travel Journalists of America, and a "Best Book of 2004" by the San Francisco Chronicle. 100 Places Every Woman Should Go won the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation's Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism's "Gold Prize for Best Travel Book" as well as the International Latino Book Award's "Best Travel Book" award in 2007. Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines is a finalist in the 2009 PEN Southwest Literary Awards.
M.F.A. Nonfiction Writing Program, University of Iowa, anticipated 2012
B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, with degrees in journalism and Post-Soviet Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 1997
Certificate of Advanced Russian from the Moscow Linguistics Institute
American Sign Language
To be featured in Las Comadres', the national Latina organization, new book club.
Texas Monthly Magazine excerpted the first chapter of Stephanie'sforthcoming memoir, Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines, in their August issue.
Interviewed in, The Practicing Writer for the May, 2008 issue.
MSNBC and other news organizations shared Griest's ideas for “Fabulous Mother’s Day Getaways,” May 7, 2008.
"A Melting Pot or a Salad Bowl?," for Divine Caroline, February 13, 2008.
"A Night on the Navajo Nation Reserve," for Divine Caroline, February 8, 2008.
"Tears from Turkey," for Divine Caroline, November 15, 2007.
"Tibetan Truths," for Divine Caroline, October 17, 2007.
"Ten Tips for Wandering Women," for Divine Caroline, April 13, 2007.
"Eight Places Every Woman Should Go," Yahoo! Travel News. February 19, 2007.
LECTURES & APPEARANCES
Taught an "All About Me" Memoir Writing Workshop at El Tigre Art Camp for Sarita Elementary School at Texas ATM University at Kingsville on June 19, 2008 in Kingsville TX.
Presented her "Traveling Sola: Tips for Wandering Women" workshop at the Women Leaders 2008: A Symposium for Women in University Settings sponsored by the Center for Gender Equity at the University of California, San Francisco June 5-6, 2008.
World Literature Today featured a chapter of her forthcoming memoir, Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines, in their May/June 2008 edition. It describes the battle of a feminist Mexican art collective to show an exhibit about the ongoing, unsolved femicide in Ciudad Juarez. Held a "Crash Course in Memoir Writing Workshop" at MediaBistro in New York City Nov. 7, 2007