Gwen Strauss has led a life inspired by a love of adventure and culture. An American born in Haiti, she spent most of her adult life traveling, living, and studying all over the world in places such as Mexico, Japan, Holland, and France. Her travels led Strauss to trust in the consistent power of art and education across cultures. Through this, she was inspired to write about how art can be a symbol of humanity in dark times. Strauss’s stories are also inspired by the heroic and adventurous acts of her family; she is the great-niece of Danny Benedite, who worked with Varian Fry and the American Rescue Committee to save thousands from the Nazi death camps during World War II. By combining art and history, Strauss honors her family, as well as the artists, writers, and scientists who fled Europe during this time and changed American culture forever. Strauss serves as the on-site director of the Dora Maar House for the Brown Foundation Fellows Program in France and is the author of several anthologies, poems, short fiction stories, and children’s books.
Strauss received her BA from Hampshire College and her MS from Wheelock College. Her work has earned her accolades such as the Greg Grummer Award, the Atlanta Review Award, the Allen Ginsberg Award, a Capitol Choices Noteworthy Books for Children selection, an Independent Publisher Book Award, and a Whitney and Scott Cardozo Award for Children’s Literature. She is a member of both the Authors Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Strauss lives in Ménerbes, France, with her family and is surrounded by history, beauty, and the richness of language.