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Jennifer Steil

Jennifer Steil is the author of:

The Woman Who Fell From the Sky
(Broadway Books 2010)

The Ambassador's Wife
(Doubleday 2015)

Jennifer Steil is an award-winning American writer, journalist, and actor currently living in La Paz, Bolivia. Her first book, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (Broadway Books, 2010) is a memoir about her experiences as editor of the Yemen Observer newspaper in Sana’a. The book received accolades in The New York Times, Newsweek, and the Sydney Morning Herald among other publications. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune chose it as one of their best travel books of the year in 2010, and Elle magazine awarded it their Readers’ Prize. National Geographic Traveler recently (December 2013/January 2014) included the book in their recommended reading list. It has been published in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, and Poland.

Jennifer's second book, a novel titled The Ambassador’s Wife, will be published by Doubleday in the spring of 2015. The Ambassador's Wife recently won the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Best Novel award. She is currently working on two more novels.

Jennifer has lived outside of the US since she moved to Yemen in 2006 to take over the Yemen Observer. After four years in Yemen, she and her husband Tim Torlot and daughter Theadora Celeste moved to London, where Jennifer continued writing her novel and worked as a freelance journalist. While there, her work included a long piece on Yemen for the World Policy Journal, a Yemen piece for the German paper Die Welt, and stories on Kate & Will's royal wedding, London's 9/11 monument, and British politics for the Washington Times.

Theatre was her first love, although she has kept a journal ever since she learned how to write. After completing a bachelor’s degree in theatre at Oberlin College, she spent four years working as an actor in Seattle. During this time, she became increasingly frustrated with the limited roles available to women (nearly always cast as an ingénue or prostitute with a heart of gold, she longed to play rocket scientists, politicians, paleontologists) and the dearth of female voices in the theatre world at large. This frustration drove her to begin writing the things she wished her characters could say. While never abandoning theatre, she began dedicating more time to her writing, eventually completing a master’s degree in creative writing/fiction at Sarah Lawrence College. Writing fiction gave her a feeling of artistic control she had not previously experienced. At first, the stories she wrote were solely her own, but as she developed as a writer she began listening more to the stories of others. This led to a career in journalism, which began with a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Since 1997, she has worked as a reporter, writer, and editor for newspapers and magazines in the US and abroad, while continuing to perform when in a country where it is legal to do so (ie, not Yemen). In 2001, she helped to launch The Week magazine in the US, and worked there for five and a half years, writing the science, health, theatre, art, and travel pages.

She moved to Bolivia with her family in September 2012.

Click here to download Jennifer's CV.


Literary Agent: Brettne Bloom
Kneerim, Williams, & Bloom
20 West 20th Street
Suite 601
New York, New York 10011

For Film & Television:
Michelle Weiner
Creative Artists Agency
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, California 90067



Sound and Fury
Burlesque Press

Yemen: Descending into despair
World Policy Journal

Remnants of Twin Towers find role in London 9/11 memorial
The Washington Times

William and Kate’s romance obsesses Brits
The Washington Times

Mutige Frauen stellen den Jemen auf den Kopf
Die Welt

Royal wedding bells fall on deaf ears
The Washington Times

Unlikely U.K. government coalition holds fast
The Washington Times

Prince William, Kate Middleton wed as Britain celebrates
The Washington Times

Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow
The Washington Times

The Yemen I know
New York Post


Book Review: The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: An American Journalist in Yemen
From The New York Times