STEPHANIE ELIZONDO GRIEST: AROUND THE BLOC

 
Alan. You’re welcome to re-post anything from my blog, http://www.facebook.com/l/09330;aroundthebloc.wordpress.com or website, http://www.facebook.com/l/09330;www.aroundthebloc.com, as long as a link and byline are provided. Thanks so much and best wishes!” Stephanie Elizondo Griest (see Bio below).
Stephanie Elizondo Griest (born June 6) is a Chicana author and activist from South Texas. Her books include Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow,  Beijing, and Havana (Villard/Random House, 2004) www.aroundthebloc.wordpress.com  , 100 Places Every Woman Should Go (Travelers’ Tales, 2007), and Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines (Washington Square Press/Simon & Schuster, 2008). She has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Latina Magazine, and numerous Travelers’ Tales anthologies. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, she has explored 29 countries and once spent a year driving 45,000 miles across the United States, documenting its history for a website for kids called The Odyssey. A 2005 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, she is currently a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute and a Board Member of the National Coalition Against Censorship. She recently won the 2007 Richard Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting for her work on Mexico.

Bloc Head: ABOUT THE AUTHOR  
       
  Stephanie Elizondo Griest has mingled with the Russian Mafiya, polished propaganda in China, and belly danced with rumba queens in Cuba. These adventures inspired her award-winning memoirs Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana (Villard/Random House, 2004), Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines (Washington Square Press/Simon & Schuster, 2008), and the guidebook 100 Places Every Woman Should Go (Travelers’ Tales, 2007). She won the 2007 Richard J. Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting, got inducted into PEN in 2008, and is the 2010 editor of the annual anthology Best Women’s Travel Writing (Travelers’ Tales, 2010).A passionate activist, Griest co-founded the Youth Free Expression Network, an anti-censorship organization for teens that is a program of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) in New York City, and is currently on the board of NCAC. She once logged in 45,000 miles on a 42-state journey across America, documenting history that is generally overlooked in classroom textbooks for a non-profit educational website called The Odyssey. She filed 50 articles, hundreds of photographs, and a dozen video documentaries for an audience of 100,000 K-12 students at http://www.ustrek.org.In 2000, Griest was a political reporter at the Austin bureau of the Associated Press, where she covered George W. Bush’s last legislative session as governor and his bid for the presidency. Before that, she edited and taught journalism at China Daily, the English mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, while serving as a Henry Luce Scholar in Beijing. During her three month tenure as a Scotty Reston Fellow at the New York Times, she wrote about male belly dancers, Latina film makers, and dentists who replace canines with fangs. An article she wrote about religious cults for the Washington Post garnered her a spot on the 1996 USA TODAY All Academic First Team. She also covered Seattle’s grunge scene for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Austin’s drag queens for The Texas Triangle. She has contributed to the anthologies Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times (Basic Books, 2004), Lengua Fresca: Latinos Writing on the Edge (Mariner Books, 2006), Go Your Own Way (Seal Press, 2007), and The Other Latino (University of Arizona Press, 2010). Her essays have appeared in Texas Monthly Magazine and Poets & Writers; her book reviews have appeared in The Texas Observer; and her travel adventures have appeared in Latina Magazine; Bitch Magazine; World Pulse Magazine; Traveler’s Tales: Cuba; Traveler’s Tales: A Fork in Her Road; Traveler’s Tales: Turkey; Traveler’s Tales: China; Traveler’s Tales: Whose Panties are These?; Traveler’s Tales: A Woman’s Europe; Traveler’s Tales: Hyenas Laughed at Me and Now I Know Why; Traveler’s Tales: Best of Traveler’s Tales 2004; Best of Travelers’ Tales 2009; Travelers’ Tales: Best of Women’s Travel Writing 2006; Traveler’s Tales: Prague and the Czech Republic; Travelers’ Tales: A Women’s World Again; Q Magazine; and Many Mountains Moving.

Her writing hasn’t gone unnoticed. She was a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University for the 2005-2006 academic year, and has won residencies at Can Serrat outside 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. She has also been a Visiting Writer at the University of Nebraska’s MFA Program. Around the Bloc was 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” in 2007 and the “Best Travel Book” in the International Latino Book Awards in 2008. Mexican Enough won the 2009 PEN Southwest Book Award for Nonfiction. 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. She has been a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York City since 2005 and a Macondista (of Sandra Cisneros’s Macondo Workshop) since 2009.

Griest’s foremost love is the open road, and her wanderlust has taken her to 31 countries. The “Red” ones include: Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Czech Republic, China, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Viet Nam, the German Democratic Republic, Cuba, and Mozambique. She has also traveled throughout Mexico, Colombia, Egypt, and Turkey, and 47 of the United States. From August 2006 to August 2009, she lived nomadically, with three-quarters of her belongings kept in storage in Manhattan and the rest stuffed in her backpack(s).

Griest currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is pursuing a MFA in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa as a Dean’s Graduate Fellow. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1997 from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in journalism and Post-Soviet Studies and earned a certificate of Advanced Russian from the Moscow Linguistics Institute. She learned Spanish at the Ole Language School of Queretaro Mexico, picked up Mandarin on the streets of Beijing, and is currently studying American Sign Language. She studied tribal gypsy belly dance for six years and has performed in China, Mexico, New York, California, and Texas.

She can be contacted via her blog (see NEWS BLOC above), her mailing list (see red button above), on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/aroundthebloc or http://www.myspace.com/mexicanenoughthebook, or on Facebook.

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