Reyna Grande is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. She has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards. Her works have been published internationally in countries such as Norway and South Korea.
Her novels, Across a Hundred Mountains, (Atria, 2006) and Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009) were published to critical acclaim and have been read widely in schools across the country. Her latest book, The Distance Between Us, was published in August 2012, by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In this memoir, Reyna writes about her life before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States. A National Book Circle Critics Award finalist, The Distance Between Us is an inspirational coming-of-age story about the pursuit of a better life. The Los Angeles Times hailed it as ‘”the Angela’s Ashes of the modern Mexican immigrant experience.”
Born in Mexico, Reyna was two years old when her father left for the U.S. to find work. Her mother followed her father north two years later, leaving Reyna and her siblings behind in Mexico. In 1985, when Reyna was going on ten, she entered the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. She later went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.
After attending Pasadena City College for two years, Reyna obtained a B.A. in creative writing and film & video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She later received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. Now, in addition to being a published author, she is also an active promoter of Latino literature and is a sought-after speaker at high schools, colleges, and universities across the nation.
Currently Reyna teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension and is at work on her next novel.
Awards & Recognitions
El Premio Aztlan Literary Award 2006
American Book Award 2007
2010 International Latino Book Award
National Book Critics Circle Awards Finalist
2014 One Maryland, One Book
2014 One Community, One Book selection from the U of Iowa Center for Human Rights
2014 Santa Rosa Junior College Reads
2014 One Book, One Community-San Juan College
2014 Rolling Meadows High School Summer Reading Program
2014-15 “Book in Common,” Butte College/Chico State University
Grand Valley State University “Common Reading” 2013
California State University-Los Angeles “First Year Experience” Selection 2014
Monroe County’s One Book/One Community 2014
2007 “One Book/One Region”, Eastern Connecticut
2010 On the Same Page (Community Read), City of Watsonville, CA
Ramona Convent Secondary School “One School/One Community” selection 2013-14
Owensboro Community & Technical College Common Reading Selection 2012
Las Comadres Para Las Americas Book Club Nov/2012
One of the Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2012 (School Library Journal)
One of the 15 Best Books of 2012 (The Christian Science Monitor)
2014 Author-in-Residence, Park City High School, UT
2012 Author-in-Residence, Pasadena City College, CA