About Jennifer Steil

jennifer-steil

Jennifer Steil is an award-winning American writer, journalist, and actor currently living in La Paz, Bolivia. Her debut novel, The Ambassador’s Wife, was published by Doubleday on July 28, 2015. The Ambassador’s Wife won the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Best Novel award and has received considerable critical acclaim, notably in the Seattle Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and The New York Times Book Review.

Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway has signed on to star in a television miniseries based on The Ambassador’s Wife, which the Mark Gordon Company has acquired the rights to finance and produce with Hathaway.

Jennifer’s first book, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (Broadway Books, 2010) is a memoir about her tenure 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 called it one of the best travel books of the year in 2010, and Elle magazine awarded it their Readers’ Prize. National Geographic Traveler includes the book in its recommended reading list. It has been published in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, and Poland. Her freelance work has appeared in the World Policy Journal, Die Welt, Vogue UK, the Washington Times, The Week, Yahoo Travel, Time, and The Rumpus.

Jennifer has lived abroad since she moved to Yemen in 2006 to become the editor-in-chief of the Yemen Observer. After four years in Yemen and four months in Jordan, she and her husband Tim Torlot and daughter Theadora Celeste moved to London. When Tim was appointed the European Union ambassador to Bolivia in 2012, they moved to La Paz.

 

Theatre was Jennifer’s first love, although she has kept a journal ever since she learned how to write. After completing a BA in theater 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 theater world. This frustration drove her to begin writing the things she wished her characters could say.

She completed an MFA in creative writing/fiction at Sarah Lawrence College and an MS in Journalism at 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. 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, theater, art, and travel pages.

In the last few years Jennifer has given talks in Algeria, New York, Seattle, Dubai, Amsterdam, The Hague, Egypt, Boston, Abu Dhabi, Vermont, Martha’s Vineyard, Washington DC, Nashville, New Orleans, Portland, Bellingham, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Miami, Pittsburgh, and London.

 

Jennifer Steil’s CV:

JENNIFER FLORENCE STEIL

La Paz, Bolivia

jfsteil@gmail.com
Postal Address: C/o European Union Delegation in Bolivia
Via the Diplomatic Bag Service
B-1046 Brussels
Belgium

Award-winning author, journalist, and teacher

BOOKS:

Author, The Ambassador’s Wife, a novel, published by Doubleday July 28, 2015 (Paperback June 14, 2016) The book won the Best Novel award in the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and has received considerable critical acclaim, notably in the Seattle Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and The New York Times Book Review.

Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway has signed on to star in a television miniseries based on The Ambassador’s Wife, which the Mark Gordon Company has acquired the rights to finance and produce with Hathaway.

Author, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, a memoir about my adventures as the editor of a newspaper in Yemen, published by Broadway Books/Random House in May 2010. The book is also published in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, and Turkey.

The book received accolades in The New York Times and was chosen as a Travel Book of the Year by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. Elle magazine awarded it its Readers’ Prize in August 2010. It has been reviewed in countless other periodicals and blogs.

Jennifer recorded the audiobook of The Woman Who Fell From the Sky.

Contributor, Not A Rose, CHARTA, Milan, New York, 2012. For this book, a hybrid work that is both book and conceptual art installation, I wrote an essay entitled “Roses After Rain.”

SHORT STORIES:

Captive will be published in the autumn 2016 issue of the Saranac Review

Fault Lines was published and performed by Liars’ League in London, England

The Last Man You Borrowed was a semi-finalist in the 2012 William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition

Accident won Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s 2015 Very Short Fiction Award

AWARDS:

Winner, Best Novel, 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, for The Ambassador’s Wife

Finalist, Bisexual Book Award for Fiction 2015, for The Ambassador’s Wife

Finalist, Lascaux Novel Prize 2015, for The Ambassador’s Wife

First Runner-up, 2012 William Faulkner -William Wisdom
Creative Writing Competition, Novel-in-Progress category, for Chiaroscuro (now called The Ambassador’s Wife)

Residency, Writers Omi at Ledig House, Ghent, NY, April 25-May 15, 2014

Residency, Willapa Bay, Washington, July 2014

Residency, Can Serrat, Spain, November 2014

Residency, The Byrdcliffe Artist in Residence Program, Woodstock, NY June/July 2013

Residency, Arte Studio Ginestrelle, Assisi, Italy, April 2013

Residency, The Julia and David White Artists’ Colony, Costa Rica, Sept. 2005

Consultant/Speaker, A Room of Her Own Women’s Writing Retreat, August 2013, New Mexico

First Place, Specialty Reporting Portfolio, the New Jersey Press

Association’s 1998 Better Newspaper Contest

First Place (staff award), Lloyd P. Burns Memorial Award for Public

Service, for the series “Heroin: A Clear and Present Danger,” the New

Jersey Press Association’s 1998 Better Newspaper Contest

JOURNALISM AND OTHER EDUCATION:

MS, Journalism (specializing in print), with Honors, Columbia University Graduate School of

Journalism, May 1997

MFA, Creative Writing/Fiction, Sarah Lawrence College, May 1996

BA, Theatre, Oberlin College, May 1990

JOURNALISM EXPERIENCE:

Freelance work has appeared in the Saranac Review, World Policy Journal, The Washington Times, Vogue UK, Die Welt, New York Post, The Rumpus, Time, Readers’ Digest Version, ivillage.com, Irish National Radio, France 24 (English), CBS radio, and GRN Global Reporter Network Service

Yemen Observer, Editor-in-chief, Sana’a, Yemen

September 2006-September 2007

Overhauled and edited the entire newspaper, managed staff, and wrote news, features, and editorials

The Week, Senior Editor, New York, NY

February 2001-August 2006

Wrote and edited health, science, theater, travel, opera, art, and film pages

Folio: The magazine for magazine management, Associate Editor, New York, NY

October 1999—March 2001

Wrote news and feature stories about all aspects of the magazine business, including new launches, repositioning, information technology, editorial issues and advertising

Daily Record, Health/General Assignment Reporter, Parsippany, NJ

October 1998-March 1999

Covered health issues, breaking news and general features

Daily Record, Municipal Reporter, Parsippany, NJ

October 1997-1998

Covered five towns, wrote features on education, health,

development issues and politics

The Patriot Ledger, Intern/Reporter, Quincy, MA

June-October 1997

Covered two towns, wrote features on religion, health, business,

art, kids and other subjects

Good Housekeeping, Freelancer, New York, NY

August 1997-present

Wrote several stories, including a profile and a humor page

Life, Stringer, New York, NY                 January 1997

Reported for special issue in May, 1997

Time, Stringer, New York, NY                 January 1997

Reported for cover story on Ennis Cosby, January 27, 1997

Teaching Experience

Teacher of creative writing, fiction and nonfiction, at the Elizabeth Ayres Center for Creative Writing, April 2016—present

Teacher of short story writing at Rosemont College’s MFA Writing Retreat, Philadelphia, June 2016

Guest Speaker for the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (spoke at several Tennessee colleges), February-March 2016

Guest teacher/visiting writer at SUNY Plattsburgh, NY, April 2016

Guest teacher of creative writing at the University of Algiers in Algeria 2014

Guest teacher of writing to the students of Wellington College in Crowthorne, England in 2011

Journalism trainer for the staff of the Yemen Times in Sana’a, Yemen in 2009

Journalism trainer for the staff of the Yemen Observer in Sana’a, Yemen in 2006-2007

Test preparation teacher for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and LSAT with the Princeton Review from 1993 to 1997

Shakespeare in Performance teacher at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire in the summer of 1990

Speaking Engagements

2015 & 2016 I gave dozens of talks and readings on a 17-city book tour across the United States. I’ve also given talks and book presentations for the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, for the American Cooperative School in La Paz, Bolivia, and for the public in Sauve and Anduze, France. I have also been a guest speaker at many universities.

2015 I spoke on three literary panels at the Words & Music literary festival in New Orleans, LA.

2015 I spoke on two literary panels at the AWP in Minneapolis

2014/15 I was a featured reader, panelist, and teacher at the Hands On Literary Festival in New Orleans, LA

2014 The US Embassy in Algeria invited me to be a featured author at the Algiers International Book Fair. I gave several talks, spoke on panels, taught classes, and gave television and radio interviews.

2013 & 2015 I was an invited speaker and consultant at the A Room of Her Own Women’s Writing Retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.

2012 I was an invited speaker at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

I have also given talks on Yemen and my book in Amsterdam, Algeria, The Hague, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Cairo, as well as at Columbia University, Fordham University, Sarah Lawrence College, Boston University, and the Vermont Council on World Affairs.

Photo Galleries

Algeria

Bolivia

Djibouti

Egypt

France

Italy

London

Netherlands

Oman

Scotland

United Arab Emirates

United States

Yemen