I am an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, as well as a journalist and teacher with more than a decade of experience. In 2006, I moved from New York to Sana'a, Yemen, to become the editor-in-chief of a newspaper.
My first book, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (Broadway Books 2010), was a memoir about that year I spent as editor in chief of the Yemen Observer newspaper in Sana’a, Yemen. 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 scores of other periodicals and blogs. It was also published in Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
My most recent book, the novel The Ambassador’s Wife, was published by Doubleday in July 2015. 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. The Ambassador's Wife was shortlisted for both the Lascaux Novel Prize and the Bisexual Book Award. It also will be published in several foreign languages.
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.
I have an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College, an MS in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and experience teaching graduate students.
Since 2006, I have spent four years living and working in Yemen, four months in Jordan, two years in London, and four years in Bolivia. I am inspired by working with diverse populations from cultures vastly different from my own, and helping diverse voices be heard.
Until the end of August 2016 we live in Bolivia, where my husband is the European Union ambassador. We return to London September 1, 2016 and I am available to work after that.
Currently I am working on my third book.
JENNIFER FLORENCE STEIL
46 Woodstock Road
Second Floor Flat
+44 7570 699392
Award-winning author, journalist, and teacher
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.
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.”
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
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
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
Playgirl magazine, Associate Editor, New York, NY
Wrote features, assigned and edited stories, reviewed books, CD's
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
Covered five towns, wrote features on education, health,
development issues and politics
The Patriot Ledger, Intern/Reporter, Quincy, MA
Covered two towns, wrote features on religion, health, business,
art, kids and other subjects
Good Housekeeping, Freelancer, New York, NY
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
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 speaker at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, August 2015
Speaker, Penguin Bookshop Writers Series, Pittsburgh, PA, August 2015
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
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 I was an invited speaker and consultant at the A Room of Her Own Women’s Writing Retreat, August 2013, New Mexico. I will also be speaking and consulting at their 2015 retreat.
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.
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