Heidi W. Durrow
|Heidi Wedel Durrow|
|Born||June 21, 1969|
|Alma mater||Stanford University
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Yale Law School
Heidi W. Durrow (born June 21, 1969) is an American writer, author of best-seller The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, and the winner of the 2008 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially-Engaged Fiction.
Early life and education
Durrow, the daughter of a white Danish immigrant and an African-American Air Force man, grew up in part overseas in Turkey, Germany, and Denmark. In 1980 her family settled in Portland, Oregon, where she attended Jefferson High School. She majored in English at Stanford University and wrote a weekly column for the Stanford Daily, graduating in 1991 with Honors. She continued her education at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and received a M.S. in 1992. She then attended Yale Law School and received her J.D. in 1995.
Durrow’s career began at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City, where she worked as a corporate litigator on antitrust, commercial contracts, and employment discrimination cases. She left Cravath in 1997 to pursue a literary career.
Durrow worked as a consultant to the National Basketball Association and National Football League as a Life Skills trainer from 2000 to 2006.
Durrow was a host of the award-winning weekly podcast Mixed Chicks Chat focused on issues of being racially and culturally mixed.
In 2008 Durrow became a founder of the now defunct Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival. The Festival—which ran from 2008 to 2012—celebrated stories of the Mixed experience including stories about biracial identity, transracially adopted families, and interracial and intercultural relationships and friendships. The Festival presented films, readings, workshops, a family event, and the largest West Coast "((Loving Day celebration))". The Festival also presented the annual Loving Prize for storytellers and community leaders who have shown exceptional dedication to sharing and illuminating the Mixed experience. Past Loving Prize recipients include: writer James McBride, Hapa artist Kip Fulbeck, TV producer and writer Angela Nissel, and scholar Maria P. P. Root.
Durrow created a new festival called the Mixed Remixed Festival which premiered June 14, 2014.
Durrow was named a Power 100 Leader by Ebony Magazine in 2010 and was nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Debut. She is a sought-after national speaker and has been featured as an expert on multiracial and multicultural issues and identity by the New York Times, NBC Nightly News, CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC and Ebony Magazine.
- 2004: Winner,Chapter One Fiction Contest
- 2004: Jerome Foundation Award for Emerging Writers
- 2004: Winner, Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition
- 2004: Fellowship in Fiction, New York Foundation for the Arts
- 2007: Creative Artist Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society
- 2007: Elizabeth George Foundation Grant for Writers
- 2007: Creative Artist Fellowship, American Scandinavian Foundation
- 2007: Roth Endowment Award
- 2008: Bellwether Prize for Literature of Social Change, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
- The book is described as a best seller by New Yorker magazine, here, accessed December 9th 2014.
- From the Heidi Durrow author website, accessible here, accessed December 9th, 2014.
- Details on the PEN/Bellwether Prize are available here, accessed December 9th 2014.
- Lise Funderburg, Black, White, Other: Biracial Americans Talk About Race and Identity (Morrow, 1995), pp. 351-59.
- Cited in NewYorker magazine article from 2011, accessible here, accessed December 9th 2014.
- Erica Boeke and Chris De Benedetti, Gameface: The Kick-Ass Guide for Women Who Love Pro Sports (Virgin, 2008), pp. 31-35.
- “Obama Raises Profile of Mixed race Americans”, San Francisco Chronicle, July 21, 2008, Tyche Hendricks.
- “Japanese American National Museum to Host 2nd Annual Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival,” Nichi Bei Times, May 21–27, 2009, p. 10.
- The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (Algonquin Books, February 2010).
- Heidi W. Durrow Official Website
- Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival Website
- Mixed Chicks Chat Website
- Personal Interview.
- Heidi Durrow, Portland Native.
- Portrait and Interview: Blended Nation: Portraits of Multiracial People by Mike Tauber (2009).