Reyna Grande at the 2012 Texas Book Festival.
Reyna Grande (born 7 September 1975, Iguala, Guerrero) is an award-winning Mexican author. Her first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains (Atria, 2006), received the 2006 El Premio Aztlan Literary Award and a 2007 American Book Award. Although a work of fiction, Across a Hundred Mountains draws heavily on her own experiences growing up in Mexico and as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. Across a Hundred Mountains was selected as the 2007 “One Book/One Region” selection in Eastern Connecticut, the 2010 On the Same Page selection of Watsonville, CA, the 2013-14 Ramona Convent Secondary School “One School/One Community” selection, and the 2012 Owensboro Community & Technical College Common Reading Selection. Her second novel, Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009), was published to critical acclaim and later received a 2010 International Book Award. An excerpt of Dancing with Butterflies was published in 2008 as a short story titled "Adriana" in Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature (Bilingual Press) edited by Daniel Olivas.
In 2012, Atria Books published Grande's memoir, The Distance Between Us, a coming-of-age story about her life before and after coming to the U.S. as an undocumented child immigrant. Her memoir chronicles her experiences growing up in poverty in Iguala, then being left behind for eight years when her father, and later her mother, headed to the U.S. in search of work. Grande writes about her illegal border crossing, her experiences as an undocumented child immigrant, and the trials and tribulations she faced in becoming the first in her family to obtain a college degree. In an interview published by the Los Angeles Review of Books on 6 December 2012, Grande explained why she decided to part from fiction to tell her story: "Even though my novels are very personal, and the material I write about is drawn from my own experience, they are fictional stories. After I completed my second novel, I wanted to write the real story about my life, before and after illegally immigrating to the US from Mexico. I wanted to shed light on the complexities of immigration and how immigration affected my entire family in both positive and negative ways."
The Distance Between Us was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award (autobiography category). It has received numerous recognitions, including being selected as the 2014 One Maryland, One Book, the 2014 One Community, One Book from the U of Iowa Center for Human Rights, the 2014 Santa Rosa Junior College Reads, the 2014 One Book, One Community from San Juan College, the 2014 Rolling Meadows High School Summer Reading Program, the 2014-15 “Book in Common,” from Butte College and Chico State University, the 2013 Grand Valley State University “Common Reading”, the 2014 California State University-Los Angeles “First Year Experience” book selection, the 2014 Goshen College, “First Year Experience” Selection and the 2014 Monroe County’s One Book/One Community.
Grande attended Pasadena City College and later transferred to UC, Santa Cruz, where she obtained a B.A. degree in Literature/Creative Writing. She later received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. Grande is also a member of the prestigious Macondo Writer's Workshop, founded my renowned author Sandra Cisneros and hosted by the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, Texas. She currently teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension's Writer's Program.
- John Williams (14 January 2012). "National Book Critics Circle Names 2012 Award Finalists". New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 15. Check date values in: