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Vanessa Garcia is a Cuban-American multidisciplinary writer -- screenwriter, playwright, novelist, and journalist/essayist -- who has written and worked for Sesame Street, where she’s been nominated for an Emmy (Monster Meditation), and won two Telly Awards (Tamir On the Street). She’s also worked on Caillou; Behind the Beats (a French animated show about the history of music and how it’s all connected), and other shows.

She’s the author of the novel, White Light, which won an International Latino Book Award and was one of NPRs best books of 2015. Her first Picture Book for children, What the Bread Says, launched October 1, 2022.

Theatrically, she’s the author of The Amparo Experience, an immersive hit that People en Español called “Miami’s Hottest Ticket.” Other plays include: Sweet Goats & Blueberry Señoritas, which she co-wrote with Obama’s Inaugural poet, Richard Blanco; #Graced about a woman searching for what it means to be American right now, which premiered at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and Jenna & The Whale, about a town in Florida facing the suicide of a young man, which premiered at Ground Floor Theatre in Austin, Tx in 2023.

Her journalism, essays and thought pieces have appeared in The LA Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, National Review, ESPN, The Hill, Catapult, Narrativel.ly, and numerous other publications.

Vanessa also hosts a podcast about family with her own sister and mother called Never The Empty Nest, available anywhere you listen to podcasts.

She holds a PhD from the University of California Irvine in Creative Nonfiction. Her dissertation focused on Cuba.

Print CV


Vanessa Garcia CV



University of California, Irvine
PhD, English (focus Creative Nonfiction). August, 2015.
Dissertation Committee: Barry Siegel, Amy Wilentz, and Erika Hayasaki (references available upon request).

University of California, Irvine
MA, English, 2011
Studied Under: Barry Siegel, Rodrigo Lazo, Michael Szalay, and others (references available upon request).

University of Miami, Fl.
MFA Creative Writing, Fiction, 2009
Studied Under: A. Manette Ansay, Edwidge Danticat, and Jane Alison (references available upon request).

Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Bachelor of Arts, 2001
Graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa
Double Major: English (concentration in Writing) and Art History (concentration in Visual Arts)
Studied Under: Mary Gordon, Caryl Phillips, Peter Carey, Elizabeth Peyton, Archie Rand and others (references available upon request).

Journalism/Creative Nonfiction/Freelance

  • Journalism – Miami, Fl, Los Angeles, CA, and NYC. 2004-present Articles and journalism in: The LA Times, Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Miami Herald, Narrative.ly, The Guardian, Wilson Quarterly, Remezcla, The Boston Globe, The Hill, ESPN, Bitch Media, The Mash-up Americans, American Theatre, etc.
    Write about Cuba, women, art, literature, culture, and other beats. For more: http://www.vanessagarcia.org/non-fiction.php

Published Fiction, Non-Fiction & Other Lit Journal Publication

  • What the Bread Says, a Picture book for children about how my grandfather taught me to bake bread and told me the family story as we baked (he escaped three tyrannies – Franco in Spain, Hitler, and then Fidel Castro in Cuba).
  • Let’s Hear Their Voices: Cuban American Writers of the Second Generation, 2019. An excerpt from my novel in progress, This Is Not A Neon Sign is collected here. Edited by Iraida H. Lopez and Eliana S. Rivero.
  • Identidad y Postnacionalismo En La Cultura Cubana (Identity and Postnationalism in Cuban Culture), 2019. Excerpts of my immersive play, The Amparo Experience collected here. Published by Aduana Vieja (Spain), and edited by Laura P. Alonso Gallo and Belen Rodriguez Mourelo.
  • White Light, a novel. 2015. Shade Mountain Press. ISBN: 9780991355549
    One of NPR’s Best Books of 2015, International Latino Book Award (Best Popular Fiction), On a number of Best of (2015) lists including Al Dia, Flavorwire, NBC Latino, and others. Kirkus Star. International Latino Book Award for Best Popular Fiction, 2016.
  • Skin, short story. Southern Humanities Review, Vol. 50. 3 & 4. 2017.
  • Patty & Lorrie, short story. i think it’s in my head (exhibition catalog), 2014. Published by Girls’ Club Art Collection, designed by Augusto Mendoza.
  • Roadtrip and Key West, poetry. Through a Distant Lens: An Anthology
    Washington: Write Wing Publishing, 2014. ISBN: 9781495933424
  • Four Legged Flamingos, short story. Intro to catalog for photography show for Francie Bishop Good: Not On Allen Street @ Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 2013. Printed by creativecreative.com
  • Sticks & Stones, poetry. Shady Side Review, 1st issue [The Whirligig Installment], Fall 2009.
  • Canopies, poetry. Damselfly Press, Fifth Issue, Oct. 2008. www.damselflypress.net.
    Canopies (Poetry)
  • For nonfiction and Literary Journalism, please visit my website: www.vanessagarcia.org under Nonfiction, all articles listed there.


  • 1000 Miles, a full length play. World Premiere set at New City Players, 2024. 2017-present. Developed through Playwright Development Program, Miami-Dade County,(2015-2017). Workshopped at The Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis (2016). Reading at Gables Stage, Coral Gables, Fl 2017. Reading at Lake Worth Playhouse, Palm Beach, FL. 2017. Reading at INGENIO Milagro as part of year-long Reading series, Portland, Oregon, 2017. [1000 Miles is a play about what it means to migrate to a new place. It’s a play about survival, surveillance, nationalism, and the nature of opportunity. About the walls that block our path and the new doors we try to open to save ourselves and those we love].
  • Sweet Goats & Blueberry Señoritas.
    Commissioned and World Premiere by Portland Stage, Maine, January 2023. Second Production: Actor’s Playhouse, Nov. 2023. Co-written with Obama’s inaugural poet, Richard Blanco. Beatriz, a Cuban-American baker in Maine, tries to figure out whether she should stay with the community she’s developed, or reunite with her estranged mother in Miami.
  • Jenna & The Whale, 2019- present. Co-written with Jake Cline and commissioned by William Fernandez and Jim Kierstead, Broadway Producers. This is a play about a girl named Jenna, who, following a surfing accident off the coast of Florida wakes up in the belly of a whale in the company of a young man named Jonah. Jenna, a survivor, searches for escape. Meanwhile, as members of Jenna’s hometown worry about her fate, an unexpected visitor arrives to challenge the bonds and beliefs of an already fractured community. Has received readings and development opportunities at: The Theatre Workshop of Nantucket and City Theatre.
  • #GRACED, World Premiere by Zoetic Stage in collaboration with Abre Camino Collective at the Adriene Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, May 2023, Miami, Fl. A play about a woman who goes on the road in search of what it means to be American today. Along the way she and her casual love interest (also the son of her trip’s corporate sponsor) pick up a nonbinary homeschooled teen and wayward nun. Previous development by: Thinking Cap Theatre, Playwright Development Program of Miami Dade County, and Abre Camino Collective.
  • Ich Bin Ein Berliner, Premiered April 3, 2021. A hybrid radio play and live performance commissioned by Theatre Lab at FAU. In this piece, Garcia retraces and unravels her relationship to pop culture, capitalism, Berlin, and her own family’s history as it relates to the present moment in both Cuba and the United States. First production: April 3 – May 23, 2021 (Streaming).
  • The AMPARO Experience, a site-specific, commissioned immersive theatre piece called “Miami’s Hottest Ticket” by People en Español. Semi-permanent production: April 2019-Nov 2019. Pilot productions: February, 2018 in Miami; April, 2018 in NYC. About the Arechabala family who created the real Havana Club rum in Cuba, and from whom the company was taken at gunpoint in 1959. The play won a Ruth Foreman Award.
  • ESTATE, a site specific devised performance, Deering Estate, Miami, April 2017. Worked as a writer.
  • The Space Between Us,  a Radio Play produced by WLRN, NPR affiliate, at the Wolfsonian Museum, March 2017. A play about two Cuban sisters, re-united after spending most of their lives on opposite sides of the Florida Straits. Inspired by poem read by Richard Blanco at re-opening of US embassy in Havana.
  • Freek, short play for young adults (YA). Part of City Theatre’s Short Cut Tour for Kids. Nominated for City Theatre’s National Award for Short Playwriting, 2016. Also, in Best Five Minute Plays for Teens, 2017 (published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, Division of Hal Leonard).
  • The Crocodile’s Bite, a Sam French OOB Festival selection, August, 2015. Anthologized in Smith & Kraus’ Best Ten Minute Plays of 2016; The City Theatre Anthology, 2015; and Writer’s Digest Annual Award Anthology, 2015.  Selected as “Best of City Theatre” in 2014 for their production Island Shorts.
  • The Cuban Spring, World Premiere at New Theatre, Miami, Fl. Oct-Nov, 2014. Nominated for Best New Play by Carbonell Awards. This full-length play is about an American Born Cuban grappling with her identity, her parent’s and husband’s secrets, as she tries to forge a new path to and away from Cuba. Workshopped at The Deering Estate in Miami in Sept. 2013, and Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dec. 2012.
  • One Minute Play Festival, Miami, 2012, 2014-2017. Worked as writer.
  • Miami 1-Acts, New Theatre, Miami, 2012-2014. Short plays produced for Miami-1Act Play festivals included: Lasso; There Was Nothing We Could Do... We Just Drifted Apart; and Remembering Love.
  • Two Islands: Island Blogosphere & The Jewish Nun – Summer 2010. Full Production of show entitled Island Blosgosphere, about a young ABC (American Born Cuban) writer and her connection with bloggers inside Cuba. Showed: Miami @ GAB Studios July 14 and 15; NYC @ 59e59 July 17 & 18. Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland, at theSpaces@Surgeons HallAugust 6-14.
  • Model City, short play commissioned for Miami Made Project, Miami, Fl. March 6 &7 2010, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
  • The Death of Kings: An Encyclopedia, Miami. Two weekend showcase of play in June 2007 @ Circa28, Miami, Fl. A full-length tragi-comedy about a contemporary harlequin (Quin) and his psychiatrist (Dr. Z. Sebastian). Further development on July 29, 2013 at PAX as part of South Florida Theatre League/WLRN Summer Theatre Fest Reading Series.
  • The Krane – A 501(c)3 company based in Miami, worked globally, 2007 – 2015.
    Founder and Artsitic Director of this company. Company merged visual art and theatre, creating events and productions around the US and abroad. www.thekrane.com.
  • Parked – a full length play about two architects constructing a Park, where verything else has failed. A Post 9/11 play. Received Voices at The River award at The Rep, Little Rock, Arkansas. August 2007. One day showcases at Just the Funny Theatre, Miami Fl Dec. 27, 2009 as well as The Chameleon Theatre, Amsterdam, Netherlands. May 2008.
  • Cloudcuckooland – A full-length play paralleling growing up in Miami to Aristophones’ The Birds.
    Production at Abanico Theatre, Miami, Fl. March 2008.
    Staged Reading at Books & Books, Miami, Fl. 2005.
  • Raw Impressions, New York, NY, 2002 & 2003. Worked as writer/director. RIOT – Raw Impressions Out of the Box Theatre — one piece entitled: “My Life as a Stairdweller and the Secrets of Aviation.” Produced at TIXE in Times Square, New York, New York,October 2003. Also worked another piece for them called “The Meaning of North.”


  • Tamir on the Street, Sesame Street. Writer on this show about “coming together” as a community. My episode won two Telly Awards for Online Children Writing and Craft-Writing. 2023.
  • Behind the Beats, 2022. French Animation show I wrote for.
  • Dora the Explorer (Reboot) 2020-present. Currently I am a consultant on this show.
  • Sesame Street 2019-present. Have written for several shows under the Sesame umbrella including Monster Meditation, Snack Chat, and Spanish Word of the Day. Was nominated for an Emmy for my work on Monster Meditation.
  • Caillou, 2020- present. Digital version of the show for kids. Wrote “Rosie’s First Dentist Trip” and “Caillou’s New Year.”
  • A number of projects in development, including adaptation of Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire, for the screen.
  • RED, an animated film about a young woman who comes out of her 'paper bag' to find. I wrote the film and co-produced with Rodrigo Gonzalez. Animation by Chris Salazar. Grant by Borscht Film Festival, 2012


  • The Amparo Experience, a Panel Discussion, January 2020, Florida International University. Presented by Casa Cuba and the FIU Cuba Research Institute. Presentation and Discussion of The Amparo Experience, what it did for our community and its future.
  • Miami Spirit Forward Summit, September, 2019, Lowes Miami Beach Hotel, presented by Bacardi. Our company Abre Camino Collective spoke about what it’s like to be a woman in theatre/arts, and how our company is navigating the landscape differently.
  • Broward Arts Journalism Alliance, April 2017 Representing The Miami Rail, as Assistant Editor.
  • 11th Conference on Cuban & Cuban American Studies, Februrary 2017, Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University. Beyond Perpetual Antagonism: Re-imagining U.S.-Cuba Relations. Invited to be part of panel of new generation of Cuban-American writers called “Beyond ‘Los Atrevidos’: Second-generation Cuban-American writers.
  • Comparative Drama Conference 2013, Stevenson University, Baltimore Maryland. April 4-6, 2013. Presented a paper called “The Paradox of Devised Theatre on the 21st Century Stage”. Part of this paper was later published in Howlround (an online theater journal). http://www.howlround.com/the-paradox-of-devised-theater-on-the-twenty-first-century-stage
  • Space & Place: Production and Transformation, University of Utah Humanities Symposium on Space and Place, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. Feb. 28-March 1, 2013. Presented paper called "Hypertext: The Space of 21st Century Literature."
  • Strange Fascination? A Symposium on David Bowie, University of Limerick, Ireland. October 25-28, 2012. Presenting a Paper called: "How Superficial!:David Bowie in 21st Century Literature and the Art of Surfacing." Paper chosen for publication in book called: "David Bowie: Critical Perspectives," part of the prestigious Routledge series on Popular Music and Society, pub date 2014.
  • Crafting Art on Both Sides of the Hyphen: A Discussion on Latin-American Art, Miami, Fl. September 15, 2011. Curator and Moderator for panel discussion that included Carol Damian, Director of Frost Art Museum; Irina Leyva-Perez, Curator of PanAmerican ArtProjects; Luisa Lignarolo of Cernuda Arte; and artist, Gustavo Oviedo.
  • Diversity Conference 2011, Capetown, South Africa. June 20-22, 2011. Virtual Participant/Presentation of Paper entitled: “The 'Miami-Cuban' (and other Hyphenated Americans in the World-System”. Paper chosen for publication in Conference Journal. pub. date 2012.
  • AASH National Conference [Associated Alumnae of the Sacred Heart], Miami, Fl. April, 7-10, 2011. Seminar Speaker.
  • Princeton Harvard Cuba Conference, Princeton, New Jersey. April, 2006. Invited to Princeton to participate and take part as an artist/journalist
  • As Personal Assistant to Caryl Phillips (http://www.carylphillips.com), New York, New York & Delray Beach, Fl. 2001- 2004. Assisted with research, teaching, conference planning, etc. Worked particularly on research for his novel Dancing in The Dark about Black Vaudeville Star Bert Williams, which was short-listed for the Booker and won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for best book. Also helped to plan, as well as attended the following programs while working for Phillips:
    • Literature of the Middle Passage, Ghana, Africa. Assisted in taking a college course to Accra and Elmina to study where the Middle Passage, and the literature that arose out of the forced African Diaspora, began.
    • Bellagio Writers and Scholars Conference 2003, Bellagio, Italy. Participant in conference entitled: The Caribbean in New York and Paris.

Honors and Awards

  • Purple Dragonfly Awards, for my picture book What the Bread Says. First place in Cultural Diversity, Food Related books, Picture Books Under 5 and Picture books 6 and over. 2023.
  • Telly Awards, My episode for Sesame Street’s Tamir on the Street, entitled Fun Family Traditions won two Silver awards for writing -- Online Children’s Writing and Craft-Writing. 2023.
  • Webby Honoree, For work done on a digital docuseries entitled Behind the Label, about the family (and true story behind) Havana Club Rum. 2022.
  • Ruth Foreman Award, 2020. For The Amparo Experience. Honors those in South Florida, who have made a significant contribution to the development of theater.
  • WP Lab Fellow, 2018-2020 Cohort. A highly competitive two-year residency for playwrights, directors and producers that has served over 350 artists since its founding in 1983.
  • Sesame Street Writers Fellow, Summer 2018. Selected by Sesame Workshop in NYC  -- to work with head writers as part of Sesame scouting for diversity talent.
  • Best Popular Fiction, International Latino Book Awards, 2016. For Novel White Light.
  • Playwright Development Program, Miami, Fl. 2015-2017 as well as 2011-2013. Chosen by Miami Dade County Cultural Affairs in Conjunction with Deering Estate at Cutler to for development of theatreical work.
  • Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition, 2015. One of winners for short play, The Crocodile’s Bite.
  • City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting, Four time finalist.
    Finalist for short play, Freek, 2016. The Crocodile’s Bite, 2015. Finalist for short play entitled Lasso. Miami, 2014. Finalist for short play, Pawn, 2013.
  • The Deering Estate Literary Artist in Residency, Deering Estate, Miami, Fl. 2014-2015 Gift of a studio and working residency out of the Deering Estate in Cutler bay for the duration of one year.
  • The Betsy Hotel Writer's Room Residency, Miami Beach, Fl. July 20-Aug 4, 2014.
  • Girls' Club, Writer in Residence, Ft. Lauderdale, 2013-2014. Writing and creating literary programming from Girls' Club, alongside show curated by TM Sisters from Oct. 2013- Sept 2014.
  • 100 Creatives, Miami, Fl, 2010. Chosen by The Miami New Times as one of Miami's “100 Creatives”.
  • 20 Under 40 in the Arts, Miami, Fl. 2010 Nominated by city, chosen by The Miami Herald for my work in the arts/theatre through my company The Krane (Krane,Inc).
  • Schaeffer Fellowship in Creative Non-Fiction – awarded in 2010. Given to one prospective PhD candidate to write a book of Creative Non-fiction at the University of California, Irvine.
  • Vermont Studio Center Writing Residency – April 2010. Received Fellowship to write at the center and work on a play called Island Blogosphere.
  • New York State Summer Writers Institute, Saratoga Springs, NY. July 2008. Full tuition scholarship to study with Margot Livesey & Jim Shepard in the genre of Fiction.
  • The Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative, 2008. Finalist for literature protégé to work with Wole Soyinka. One of four finalists world-wide. Visited Soyinka in his home in Abeokuta, Nigeria, and in Lagos for one week.
  • Voices at the River Residency at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Little Rock, Arkansas. August. 6-19, 2007. Two week residency for play “Parked.” Public reading at the end of residency. www.therep.org


  • LabRats, FAU Theatre Lab, 2020-Present – Work with high school and early college-aged students in need and from diverse backgrounds to develop works of art, specifically theatre, as it relates to their personal lives and experiences.
  • SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) – Savannah, GA, 2018-Present, Professor of Writing.
  • Grub Street, Instructor – Boston, MA. 2017- Present. Teach online courses. Including 6 weeks, 6 op-eds.
  • Miami Bookfair International, Instructor – Miami, Fl. Have taught workshops in nonfiction and multicultural writing, as well as First Drafts. 2015-2017.
  • New York Film Academy, Adjunct – Miami, Fl. October 2015- October 2016. Taught Composition, Public Speaking, Drawing, Dramatic Literature, and Art History.
  • Barry University, Adjunct – Miami, Fl. August 2015 – Spring 2016.
    Taught Writing about Literature and Composition. Led multicultural literature workshop.
  • University of California Irvine, TA -- Irvine, California. September 2011-2015. Taught Introduction to Literary Journalism, and Evolution and Ethics of Literary Journalism, as well as Medical Narratives.
  • New World School of the Arts, Instructor/Visiting Artist -- Miami, Fl. 2014. Taught playwriting.
  • Reading Queer Writing Academy, Instructor -- Miami, Fl. Oct. 2014. Taught a course entitled "Inside Out and Outside in: A Personal Narrative Workshop."
  • Nova Southeastern University, Adjunct -- Ft Lauderdale, Fl, 2014.
    Taught Comp 2000: Advanced College Writing.
  • Creative Writing for Teens, Instructor -- Miami, Fl. June - July 2013. Taught a one month intensive writing workshop for teens, ages 13-18. Class sponsored by The Krane. One of many workshops taught through The Krane. Others included: Memoir & Personal Narrative, First Pages Workshops, etc.
  • Lifetime Arts, Creative Aging, Instructor -- Miami, Fl. 2013-2015. Taught Drawing and Painting courses (3 courses), as well as a Writing course (1) to Senior Citizens through a program sponsored by MetLife, AARP, and the Miami Dade Public Library System. Created curricular design, taught, and led them on museum trips. http://www.lifetimearts.org/
  • Johns Hopkins CTY Program, TA. Lancaster, PA. Summer 2009. Assisted in teaching a course called Crafting the Essay for talented youth during a summer intensive sponsored and created by Johns Hopkins University.
  • University of Miami, TA. -- Miami, Fl. 2007-2009 Taught Eng. 209: Intro to Creative Writing.
  • Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, Teacher -- Miami , Fl. 2006. Taught High School Art History and Middle School Visual Art.
  • Miami Dade College, Writing Tutor -- Miami, Fl. 2005 Taught writing and composition at the downtown Wolfson Campus Writing Center.

Visual Art, In Collections of

  • Emily Wechsler -- Swimming
  • Frances Hunt Potash -- Hole in the Heart, The Target Collection
  • Andrea Henderson & Michael Szalay -- Mariel
  • Martin Parker -- Enlightenment; 1968
  • Megan Roth -- Smalls Jazz Club (Google Eyes Series)
  • Margaret Cardillo & Luke Fronefield - Florida Circus Performer (The Flower Women)
  • Daniela Diaz -- Head in the Stars (The Flower Women); Mother & Daughter Birds
  • Marianne Devine -- Birdland (Google Eyes Series)
  • William Ross --- Model City
  • Ramon Balboa – Katrina; Heartbreak; Skirt Train (long drawing/installation)
  • Mary Danguillecourt – Trickle Down Economics is Bullshit
  • Melissa Krinzman, Miami – The Journal Drawings
  • Paul and Estelle Berg, Miami – The Flowers are More Interesting Underground
  • Stephen Gamson, Miami – Strong as an Oak (The Flower Women)
  • Law Offices of Inaqui Saizarbitoria, Miami – A Trip to the Moon
  • Olga Marie Saizarbitoria (Discovery Channel), Miami – Virgin Mary Series
  • Digna French (lawyer), Miami – La Girafa
  • Caryl Phillips (writer), New York/London/Delray Beach -- Delray
  • Pioneer Commodities, Boca Raton – This is What I Know For Sure & Drawings
  • Doug Harris, Bisazza – Byzantium
    ...And Others

*For a list of visual art exhibitions, please contact directly (vanessa.thekrane@gmail.com).


  • ACF Adoptions, Board of Directors, 2021-Present
  • Society of Children’s Books and Children’s Book Illustrators (SCBWI), Member 2017-present
  • Dramatists Guild of America, Member 2011-Present
  • South Florida Theatre League, Member 2011- Present