On January 14th, the National Book Critics Circle announced that The Distance Between Us, a memoir by UC Santa Cruz Creative Writing alumnus, Reyna Grande, was one of the five 2013 finalists nominated for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. The Distance Between Us, Grande’s third book, is a memoir about her childhood in Mexico and her coming-of-age in the United States. The book ends when Grande arrives in UC Santa Cruz, where she went on to become the first in her family to obtain a higher education.
In his Los Angeles Times book review, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and UCSC alumnus Hector Tobar calls this memoir a “ground-breaking addition to the literature of the Latino immigrant experience.”
Grande’s first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains, which went on to receive an American Book Award, was her senior thesis at UCSC. Three years after graduating, she started working on it again, and Simon and Schuster published it in May 2007. In the Alumni Interview Series, Grande urges Creative Writing students to continue writing everyday, even after graduation. “Graduate. Celebrate,” Grande writes. “Continue writing the very next day.”
The National Book Critics Circle Awards, which was founded in 1976, celebrates “the best literature published in the United States in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.” On February 28th, the winners of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Awards will be announced in New York City.