“Official” bio – About Maria E. Andreu:
Maria E. Andreu is the author of Love in English (Balzer + Bray, 2021), an Indie Next Pick and Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, as well as an as-yet untitled book (B+B, 2022) . Her work has appeared in Literary Hub, Teen Vogue, Newsweek, The Washington Post, NJ.com, and the Newark Star Ledger.
Her debut young adult novel, The Secret Side of Empty is a Junior Library Guild Selection, a National Indie Excellence Book Award winner, an International Latino Book Awards Finalist and has been called “captivating” by School Library Journal. Maria is Latinx and Argentinian-American and currently lives in New Jersey just outside New York City. Her work has been informed by her experiences as a formerly undocumented, non-native English speaker and immigrant to the U.S.
Get hi-res author photo, book covers and more on the Media page.
If you just want to hear about Maria E Andreu from the human, you’re in the right place.
One day, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, you may be faced with the task of writing about yourself. Or perhaps you’ve faced this chore already. And then you’ll realize that explaining yourself on paper (or pixels) is kind of like catching guppies with your bare hands. Slippery. And, also, you’ll wonder why you’re doing it. But here goes:
At the age of 12, I wrote a diary entry that held one big truth. It said, “Most of all, I want to be a writer.” Although it took me decades after that to get a book deal, always, at my core, I’ve been a writer. I’d like to think I spent the first half of my life watching, which is a very important thing for a writer to know how to do. Then, I began my career in telling. Or, better yet, showing. (No one likes a writer who tells).
My first novel, The Secret Side of Empty, bears some resemblances to my own life. But, like most fiction, it is “reality plus.” The answers are snappier. The outcomes are clearer. It is about a girl who is undocumented. Like Ana in Love in English, I once didn’t speak English.
But, of course, no person is encapsulated by one experience, even those as defining as immigration status or of learning English as a second language. So what else to tell you? I love my garden. I live for a glimpse of a monarch munching on the milkweed I planted especially for them. I meditate badly but often. I like wearing beads of all kinds: sunstone and amazonite and citrine are my current go-tos. I loved indoor skydiving way more than I thought I would. I have never lived more than five miles away from New York City, except for when I was a kid and couldn’t get back into the U.S. for two years. When I play two truths and a lie, I’ll tell you about the time I was in danger of being eaten by lions. But I won’t tell you if that’s the truth or the lie.
I’ve seen many author bios that give you incontrovertible proof of why the author is someone to be reckoned with. Awards. Impressive pictures with famous, even more to-be-reckoned-with people. A long list of published books. I have some of that, but I don’t have the most impressive bio you’ll find. But, here’s the thing: I don’t have to explain my qualifications to write. (Neither do you, if you’re inclined to the written word). I write because it’s what I love best. And I give it the best I’ve got. (Incidentally, here’s a piece I wrote on how to be a Real Writer. It explains a bit more of my journey. Click here to check it out).
In these pages of my website, you can find a lot of my story, my hopes, the things that scare me. And, still, the more I write, the more I realize just how incomplete a container words can be, how they fail to give the full breadth of a story. I was once a girl who was afraid the future was blank. Now I am a woman buzzy and stunned with her luck. I want to tell you every last thing about it. Perhaps in illuminating some of my path, it can shed some light on yours. At least, that is my hope in all this.
If you’ve read this far, maybe I can share with you that one of the most unexpected and painful parts about finding the courage to tell my immigration story has been the entirely unforeseen, devastating reaction from some have had to my admittedly confusing and hard-to-follow immigration journey. The mean-spirited allegations by people who don’t know me and didn’t take the time to read up that I have somehow tried to fudge who I am, or get out of my lane to tell stories that don’t belong to me, has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. So if you’re here because you read some allegation on Goodreads, heard something through the whisper network, or read something about me that confused you, I want you to know I’ve written extensively about my background (much more than has been comfortable), my frustration at identity policing, and the pain of being forced to talk about private family matters. There’s a lot I haven’t written yet, like how the guy who started a lot of it has apologized to me privately, promised to do so publicly, but hasn’t. Like the harms that have come to me as a result of it. But this is not a fight I ever wanted, so I’ve mainly stayed quiet. It has been hard and I feel bruised by it. I don’t know how to stay out of the fray, as smart people have advised me to do, and correct misinformation about me. All I have to hope is that people like you read all the way to the end here and decide they’re going to inform themselves before spreading what they hear.
Anyway, if you’re interested:
Thank you for reading.
Some random things I love:
- Tarot cards
- Reading college course descriptions (the possibilities!)
- Post-apocalyptic fiction
- Pink sunsets
- Clean counters
- Reading the news on my phone when I first wake up
- Time with writer friends
- Having a house full of plants
- Fun facts
Fun fact: my SEO software told me I needed 85 additional words to make this page “optimum length.” And I was out of things to say. That’s why you got the list of random things I like.
WHY IS THE FIRST PAGE OF
LOVE IN ENGLISH
(PART UNBOXING VIDEO,
PART SNEAK PEEK)
LOVE IN ENGLISH
(PART UNBOXING VIDEO,
PART SNEAK PEEK)