Benefit for Raza Defense Fund
About Jeff Biggers:
Jeff Biggers (born in 1963) is an American author, journalist, playwright, master storyteller and performance artist. He is the author of four books, and co-editor of a fourth. His latest book, "State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream," has just been released. Biggers grew up in Tucson after moving here in 1970 from Illinois with his family.
Biggers has worked as a writer, educator and community organizer across the United States, Europe, India and Mexico. His award-winning stories have appeared on NPR, PRI, CNN, The Nation, Salon.com, the Washington Post, and in scores of travel, literary and music magazines, and national and foreign newspapers, and various anthologies. He blogs regularly for The Huffington Post. He has been a commentator on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and for Pacific News Service national syndication.
His work has received numerous honors, including an American Book Award, the Sierra Club's David R. Brower Award,Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, a Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism, a Field Foundation Fellowship, a Plattner Award for Appalachian Literature, a Delta Award for Literature in Southern Illinois, and an Illinois Arts Council Creative Non-Fiction Award. He serves as a contributing editor to The Bloomsbury Review, and is a member of the PEN American Center. In the 1990s, as part of his work to develop literacy and literary programs in rural, reservation and neglected communities in the American Southwest, he founded the Northern Arizona Book Festival.
Biggers is a frequent performer and speaker at festivals, theatres, conferences, universities and schools across the country and is known for his dynamic performance style.
In the 1980s, Biggers served as an assistant to former Senator George McGovern in Washington, DC, and as a personal aide to Rev. William Sloane Coffin at the Riverside Church in New York City. As part of his work with the homeless in New York, Biggers co-founded the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness. Born in Ohio, raised in Illinois and Arizona, he earned a B.A. in History and English at Hunter College in New York City. He also studied at the University of California in Berkeley, Columbia University and the University of Arizona.
As the grandson of a coal miner from southern Illinois, Jeff Biggers has been a vocal critic of mountaintop removal in Appalachia and reckless strip mining across the nation, as well as poorly enforced black lung and mining workplace safety laws, and the fallacy of "clean coal" slogans. Reckoning at Eagle Creek examines the loss of his family's 200-year-old homestead to strip mining, and the historical parallel impact of coal mining on communities and their environment.
Over the past two years, Biggers has also extensively covered politics, immigration and cultural issues in Arizona and the US-Mexico borderlands for Salon.com, The Nation and The Huffington Post. His article in Salon.com, "Who's Afraid of the Tempest," broke the story on Tucson's removal of Mexican American Studies books from banned courses.
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