Cecilia Balli

Cecilia Ballí, Ph.D., is a writer, journalist and anthropologist. She serves as a writer-at-large at Texas Monthly, where she has published longform magazine stories for twenty years, and her work has also appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, and Columbia Journalist Review. She was an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Texas, but left the academy to focus on public writing. Ballí’s anthropological and journalistic work has focused on the U.S.-Mexico border and on the history and culture of South Texas. For sixteen years, she has done reporting and research on the rise of violence along the border, including the sexual killing of young women in Ciudad Juárez; the criminal impunity caused by drug organizations and the Mexican Army’s response; the rise in cross-border immigration and enforcement; and the construction of the border wall. Ballí’s stories and personal essays have been published in various anthologies, including The Best American Crime Writing: 2004 Edition; Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature; Puro Border: Dispatches, Snapshots & Graffiti from La Frontera; Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism; Border-Line Personalities: A New Generation of Latinas Dish on Sex, Sass, and Cultural Shifting; and Rio Grande. She has held writing residencies at the Lanesboro Arts Center, the Headlands Center for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation, and was the Texas Institute of Letters’ 2015 Jesse H. Jones Dobie Paisano Fellow. She began her career as a high school senior writing for her hometown daily, The Brownsville Herald. She lives in Houston, where she is also a research and storytelling consultant.

Caitlin Murray