“The Girl Who Fell from the Sky can actually fly… Its energy comes from its vividly realized characters, from how they perceive one another. Durrow has a terrific ear for dialogue, an ability to summon a wealth of hopes and fears in a single line.”
—The New York Times Book Review
Heidi W. Durrow is the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, winner of Barbara Kingsolver’s PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and a book club favorite. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky was hailed as one of the Best Novels of 2010 by The Washington Post, a Top 10 Book of 2010 by The Oregonian, a Top 10 Buzz Book of 2010 by The Boston Herald, and a Top 10 Debut of 2010 by Booklist. Ebony named Durrow as one of its Power 100 Leaders of 2010, along with writers Edwidge Danticat and Malcolm Gladwell. In 2011, Durrow was nominated for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Debut.
Based on a true story, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky follows Rachel, the daughter of a Danish woman and a Black GI, who is the sole survivor of a family tragedy on a Chicago rooftop. Thrust into the care of her strict African-American grandmother and a predominantly Black community, Rachel, with her light skin and blue eyes, finds herself ogled and ostracized. As she grows up and grapples with her grief, Rachel comes to see how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity. The Miami Herald called The Girl Who Fell From the Sky “affecting, exquisite”: “Durrow’s powerful novel is poised to find a place among classic stories of the American experience.” The Denver Post compared it to Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mocking Bird: “A captivating tale that shouldn’t be missed.”
An award-winning podcaster, Durrow is the host of The Mixed Experience, where she explores the multiracial experience in pop culture, academia, and history. She is also the founder and executive director of the Mixed Remixed Festival, an annual public event celebrating the mixed-race experience. It is the largest nationwide gathering of multiracial people in the country.
Durrow has spoken on creativity, women’s empowerment, and multicultural and multiracial issues at universities, conferences, and festivals nationwide. She has been featured as an expert on multiracial issues and identity by the NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, CNN, NPR, the BBC, Ebony, and The San Francisco Chronicle. She is an occasional contributor to National Public Radio.
Durrow is the recipient of a Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Writers, and a Jentel Foundation Residency. She won top honors in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and the Chapter One Fiction Contest. She has received grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the American Scandinavian Foundation, the Roth Endowment, and the American Antiquarian Society, as well as Fellowships to the Norman Mailer Writers Colony and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. A graduate of Stanford University, Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and Yale Law School, Durrow has also worked as a corporate attorney and as a life skills trainer for professional athletes in the NFL and NBA.
Durrow’s writing has appeared in The Literary Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Callaloo, The Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, Essence, and The New York Times,to name a few. She is currently at work on a new novel.