"If fiction offers more freedom from fact than journalism, it still lives or dies by the truth of the telling." — Sabrina Vourvoulias, interview with Deborah Stanish, July 2016
Sabrina Vourvoulias is an American journalist, short story author and novelist whose work can be found at The Guardian US, Philadelphia Magazine, Tor.com, and other publications. Her novel Ink was published by Crossed Genres Press in 2012 and rereleased by Rosarium Publishing in 2018. Her journalism has been recognized by Edward R. Murrow, José Martí, Keystone, New York Press Association and Philadelphia News awards. Her stories have been reprinted in Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction, Mithila Review (India), Sunspot Jungle, Apparition Lit Magazine, and PodCastle. Vourvoulias lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and daughter.
Early life and education
Vourvoulias was born in Thailand (Bangkok), and raised in Guatemala City until she was 15, when her family moved to the Philadelphia area.
Her father was the American son of Greek immigrants. Though he was born in Chicago and would return there to attend high school and college (Northwestern University), he was raised in primarily in Latin America (Colombia and Mexico) and would go on to manage and head up international business interests for an American dry-cell battery manufacturer. Vourvoulias' mother was an internationally recognized sculptor (she was a awarded the Grand Prize for Latin American art at the Sao Paolo Biennial of Art in the mid-1970s). Vourvoulias' mother was born in Mexico City, raised in both Mexico and Guatemala, and had familial and ancestral ties to both countries. For the first 30 years of her life, Vourvoulias' mother was a Mexican citizen; she was a Guatemalan citizen for the next 30 years, and became a U.S. citizen two years before her death.
Vourvoulias' brothers are accomplished editors and have worked with top Latinx and mainstream media organizations — Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker, Interview, ArtNews, El Diario/La Prensa, Fox News Latino, and more.
Vourvoulias earned a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied writing with Allan Gurganus, John Skoyles and Jane Shore, and filmmaking with experimental filmmakers Bill Brand and Joanna Kiernan. She studied TV studio production at Young Filmmakers in New York, and completed a one-year apprenticeship with a traditional herbalist in Central New York
Vourvoulias says her writing has been influenced by the works of Latin American writers who have plied both journalism and fiction (Elena Poniatowska and Gabriel García Márquez): fiction writers Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel Ángel Asturias, Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, Louise Erdrich, Alice Walker, Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan, Octavia Butler and Ursula Le Guin; and poets Antonio Machado, Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Derek Walcott, Wendell Berry, Rita Dove, Carolyn Forché, Adrienne Rich, and Marge Piercy.
Vourvoulias' articles, columns and op-eds have been published by The Guardian US, Public Radio International's Global Voices, NBC Philadelphia, Telemundo 62, Philadelphia Daily News, Philly.com, Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia Magazine, City and State PA, AL DÍA News, New America Media, Catholic Standard and Times, Tri-County Record, Chenango Valley News, Mid-York Weekly, and other publications.
"Sabrina is a thoughtful, incisive and evocative writer. You can tell she's an editor at heart because she files on time, she files clean, and her pitches are top notch (basically, an editor's dream)." — Brian Howard, features editor at Philadelphia Magazine
In 2016, she was named Editor of the Year by the Pen & Pencil Press Club of Philadelphia, and her work in Spanish and English has received multiple José Martí awards (National Association of Hispanic Publications). Her English-language editing and/or writing has been recognized with Edward R. Murrow (Radio Television Digital News Association), Keystone (Pennsylvania News Association), Philadelphia Press Club, and New York Press Association awards.
"The best editor of any news organization in Philadelphia." — Nelson A. Diaz, former General Counsel, H.U.D.
Vourvoulias has worked as the managing editor of multiple digital and print news organizations, and served as one of the project editors for the solutions journalism-oriented Reentry Project in Philadelphia, and as the project editor of the immigrant narratives associated with the Sitting in the Fire campaign of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. She is also the editor of 200 Years of Latino History in Philadelphia (Temple University Press, 2012).
Vourvoulias' short stories and fiction-related essays have been published in Uncanny Magazine, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, GUD Magazine, Crossed Genres Magazine, and in numerous anthologies including Sunspot Jungle (Rosarium Publishing, 2019), Sweet and Sugar Tooth (Upper Rubber Boot, 2018), Latin@ Rising (Wings Press, 2017) and Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History (Crossed Genres, 2014). Her stories have also been reprinted in Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2015, Apparition Lit, Mithila Review and others.
"We've never needed Sabrina Vourvoulias more than we do right now." — André Norton Award-winning novelist Sam J. Miller
Vourvoulias's novel, Ink, was published in 2012 by Crossed Genres Press, and was rereleased in 2018 by Rosarium Publishing. It has been called "A resonant, indelible novel" by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, and "a book for our times" by physicist and speculative fiction writer Vandana Singh. Fantasy author Kate Elliott describes it as "a clear-eyed, prescient depiction of a possible future that seems all too real today," and National Book Award winner Will Alexander has said that "with mythic insight and journalistic integrity Ink shows us the future that we must prevent."
Vourvoulias has served as moderator and panelist at several speculative fiction conventions, including Nerdtino, Readercon and Arisia.
Vourvoulias' poems have been published at Dappled Things, Cabinet des Fees, Floricanto at La Bloga, Poets against SB 1070, We Moon, and Graham House Review.
Philadelphia Magazine, November 2015
In Philly, news orgs are teaming up to cover problems (and solutions) around prisoner reentry by Ricardo Bilton, Nieman Lab, Nov. 18, 2016
Interview: Sabrina Vourvoulias by Deborah Stanish, Uncanny Magazine, issue 11, July 2016.
How Al Día, Philadelphia’s Spanish-language newspaper, is adapting to a bilingual world by Joseph Lichterman, Jan. 15, 2016
Don’t Let the Future Be Written For You: Sabrina Vourvoulias’s “Ink” by Sherryl Vint, Los Angeles Review of Books, Dec. 27, 2012
La tinta indeleble de Sabrina Vourvoulias by Arturo Varela, AL DÍA News, Dec. 10, 2012
Sabrina Vourvoulias releases new novel, Ink by Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, Nov. 1, 2012
Sabrina Vourvoulias at Muck Rack
Sabrina Vourvoulias at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database