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Jean Guerrero

Award-winning multimedia reporter and author of the memoir, Crux

  • About Jean Guerrero

    Multimedia journalist Jean Guerrero reports on the complex issues that connect and divide the U.S. and Latin America. A native Spanish speaker, she served as a foreign correspondent in Mexico City for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires.

    Guerrero was born in San Diego to a Puerto Rican mother and a Mexican father. In Crux, Guerrero reflects on her relationship with her father, an immigrant who moved across three continents in an attempt to escape perceived CIA mind control experiments while struggling with a crack cocaine addiction. Most people would categorize his behavior purely in terms of mental illness—but Guerrero is after larger game, exploring interpretations that cross cultures and disciplines. In telling her father’s story, Guerrero also tells her own, using a journalist’s accurate eye combined with stunning lyricism to combine strands of memoir, science, biography, and history. What follows is an exploration of the human psyche, as Guerrero tries to understand her father’s world by crossing borders ranging from those separating countries to those that lie between families.

    Guerrero holds a BA in journalism with a minor in neuroscience from the University of Southern California and an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College. She is the recipient of the San Diego Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists Awards and was named 2016 winner of the prestigious PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize for Crux. She is active in public radio and television, working with KPBS, the San Diego NPR and PBS  NewsHour affiliate, among other national partners.

  • Speaking Topics

    Cross-Border Memoir in the Age of Isolationism

    In a world that is increasingly divided by walls and political rifts, authors of mixed nationalities and ethnic backgrounds who write about their lives and hyphenated identities are creating bridges. Guerrero explains the rising significance of this genre and the opportunity it presents: getting at the truth in a world of alternative facts and echo chambers. As Guerrero explored in Crux, the materialism of the US and the superstition of Mexico unfold in parallel directions – beyond reality, toward delusion. She explores how a bi-national exchange of ideas could save the US from its era of alternative facts, and guide Mexico out of record bloodshed.

    Mental Illness and Substance Abuse in the Family: A Daughter’s Perspective

    Drawing from Crux, Guerrero talks about how she coped with having a father who was smoking crack cocaine and other drugs––a father she believed had paranoid schizophrenia. How can we connect with loved ones who seem inaccessible to us? How can we free ourselves from our own destructive patterns? Guerrero shows how family narratives can ensnare or empower us.

    Border Walls and Immigration in The Trump Era

    Guerrero has been covering the US-Mexico relationship for nearly a decade. She has seen immigrant deportations and detentions under both the Obama and Trump administrations. What has actually changed? What does a hardline immigration stance look like on the ground at one of the world’s busiest ports of entry—the San Diego-Tijuana border?

    The Absent Father: How It Fuels Misogyny in Daughters

    Eighty percent of single-parent homes are empty of a father. The disadvantage for the son can be obvious: he lacks a role model. For the daughter, the damage is harder to define. It is refractory: the daughter sees her single mother slaving away, weighed down by love and duties. She is the girl’s model, her future: toiling and entrapped. The absent father’s magnetism lies, in part, in the contrast he represents. He is not tied down by anything. In this talk, Guerrero explores how women with absent fathers can be especially vulnerable to internalizing society's misogyny – and how they can purge themselves of that toxicity.

    Hostile Environment Reporting For Young Women

    Women starting careers as journalists face unique challenges, especially when reporting out of hostile environments. Guerrero discusses reporting from deadly smuggling routes at the US-Mexico border, opium poppy plantations, drug tunnels and more in Latin America during her early twenties. She covers the basics of hostile environment awareness training and shares potentially life-saving tips for the inexperienced.

  • Video

  • Praise for Jean Guerrero

    Praise for Hatemonger

    A vital book for understanding the still-unfolding nightmare of nationalism and racism in the 21st century.

    Francisco Cantu, author of The Line Becomes a River

    Praise for Crux

    The genius of Guerrero’s exquisite creation lies beyond her lyrical descriptions, and visceral phrases…What truly makes this book extraordinary is the careful layering and connections…It’s the kind of story you think about long after you’ve finished reading it, and the kind of memoir that seems to redefine the genre.

    The Los Angeles Review of Books

    Guerrero’s memoir reads like a fever dream, full of mystery, magic, and not a little madness…An ode to a complicated family legacy, this hard-to-put-down narrative, rife with culture, myth, and politics, flows with a liminal quality that refuses to let go, enmeshing readers in the turbulence of modern-day Mexico.

    Library Journal

    Crux is everything I want in a memoir: prose that dazzles and cuts, insights hard-won and achingly named, and a plot that kept me up at night…Jean Guerrero has a poet’s lyrical sense, a journalist’s dogged devotion to truth and a fast far-reaching mind… like all great memoirs, it is ultimately a story about the great trouble and relief of being found.

    Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart & Abandon Me

    A powerful memoir that charts a daughter’s struggle to save her haunted father, Crux is alive with family magic and fierce with love.

    Junot Dìaz

    Crux is a triumphant memoir driven by the search for home and a father’s elusive love. The twists and unexpected turns across borders are enchanting. A poignant, lovely debut.

    Alfredo Corchado, author of Midnight in Mexico
  • Books by Jean Guerrero

  • Media About Jean Guerrero

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Jean Guerrero travels from San Diego, CA

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