Reyna Grande at the 2012 Texas Book Festival.
September 7, 1975 |
Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico
|Education||B.A, University of California, Santa Cruz
MFA, Antioch University
|Notable works||Across a Hundred Mountains
Dancing with Butterflies
The Distance Between Us
Grande grew up in poverty in Iguala, Guerrero then was left behind for eight years when her father, and later her mother, headed to the U.S. in search of work. Grande herself came to the U.S. as an undocumented child immigrant via an illegal border crossing. She faced many trials and tribulations in becoming the first in her family to obtain a college degree.
Grande attended Pasadena City College and later transferred to University of California, 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. She has been honored with an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlan Literary Award, and most recently, the Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature.
Grande is a member of the prestigious Macondo Writers Workshop, the workshop founded by Sandra Cisneros. She has taught creative writing at UCLA Extension's Writer's Program, at VONA (Voices of Our Nation's Arts), the Latino Writer's Conference, and more.
Grande's first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains. draws heavily on her own experiences growing up in Mexico and as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. The book was selected by a number of common read programs.
Grande's second novel, Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009), was published to critical acclaim. 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. 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). As with Across a Hundred Mountains, it has been selected for a number of common read programs.
- 2006 Premio Aztlán Literary Prize — for Across a Hundred Mountains
- 2007 American Book Award — for Across a Hundred Mountains
- 2010 International Book Award — for Dancing with Butterflies
- 2015 Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature
- Across a Hundred Mountains (Atria, 2006) — selected:
- Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009)
- The Distance Between Us (Atria Books, 2012) — selected:
- 2013 Grand Valley State University “Community Read”
- 2014 One Maryland, One Book
- 2014 University of Iowa Center for Human Rights One Community, One Book
- 2014 Santa Rosa Junior College Reads
- 2014 San Juan College One Book, One Community
- 2014 Rolling Meadows High School Summer Reading Program
- 2014 California State University, Los Angeles “First Year Experience”
- 2014 Goshen College “First Year Experience” Selection
- 2014 Monroe County, Michigan’s One Book/One Community
- 2014-15 Butte College “Book in Common"
- 2014-15 Chico State University “Book in Common"
- 2015 Sandy Springs Reads Sandy Springs, GA
- 2016 Camarillo Reads Camarillo, CA
- John Williams (14 January 2013). "National Book Critics Circle Names 2012 Award Finalists". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 2015.