Biography

Julia Flynn Siler is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. Her most recent book is  Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure, published by Grove/Atlantic in 2012. Her first book was the The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty. She is now at work on her next book, set in San Francisco’s turn-of-the-century Chinatown, which will be published by Alfred A. Knopf.

As a veteran correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek magazine, Ms. Flynn Siler spent more than two decades in the Europe and the United States, reporting from a dozen countries. She has covered fields as varied as biotechnology, cult wines, puppy breeding, and a princess’s quest to restore a Hawaiian palace’s lost treasures.

A graduate of Brown University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Ms. Flynn Siler began her career as a staff correspondent for BusinessWeek, working in the magazine’s Los Angeles and Chicago bureaus. She wrote stories on everything from White Castle “sliders” to the roiling futures markets for the New York Times. By taking classes at night during that time, she earned an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

In 1993, she was awarded a fellowship to teach business journalism in Prague, where she organized a speaker series at the Center for Independent Journalism, a not-for-profit organization supported in part by the New York Times Foundation. Ms. Flynn Siler then served as a London-based staff correspondent for BusinessWeek, where she was a member of BusinessWeek reporting teams that won a National Magazine Award, a Deadline Club award, as well as other honors.

As a longtime London-based foreign correspondent, she wrote about family business dynasties, millionaire dons at Oxford and Cambridge, and Virgin founder Richard Branson, among other subjects. Towards the end of her years in London, she joined the Wall Street Journal as its European management correspondent, traveling throughout the region to report stories. During that time, she did post-graduate work in finance at the London Business School. After returning to the U.S., one of the first articles she wrote for the Wall Street Journal was about the turmoil within the Mondavi family’s wine empire. It ran as a front page story in June of 2004.

That story led to her book The House of Mondavi, published by Penguin’s Gotham Books in 2007. A New York Times bestseller, it was honored as a finalist both for a James Beard Award and a Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished reporting and is now in its eleventh printing. Over the years, Ms. Flynn Siler wrote many feature stories for the Wall Street Journal out of its San Francisco bureau, and helped produce WSJ.com videos to accompany some of these stories.

Her critically acclaimed second book, Lost Kingdom, was also a New York Times bestseller. Ms. Flynn Siler was a 2013 recipient of the Ella Dickey Literacy Award, named in honor of a beloved librarian, and was honored at a ceremony in Missouri in April, 2013. In August of 2016, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded Ms. Flynn Siler a “Public Scholar” grant for 2016-2017 to support her forthcoming book, “Daughters of Joy: America’s Other Slaves and Their Fight for Freedom.”

Ms. Flynn Siler recently joined the staff of KQED as an on-call producer for Forum with Michael Krasny, a live, two-hour call-in program that presents wide-ranging discussions of local, state, national and international issues, as well as in-depth interviews. She is a longtime member of the San Francisco-based writing group North 24th Writers, whose members have published fourteen nonfiction books as well as hundreds of articles and essays in major magazines, newspapers and literary journals and is a member of the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto.

She has taught journalism at the University of London’s Birkbeck college and rejoined the faculty of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley in the summer of 2016 to lead non-fiction workshops and speak on panels. She has appeared as a commentator on the BBC, CBS, CNBC, National Public Radio, and elsewhere. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Oxford Encyclopedia on Food and Drink in America.

She serves on the alumni board of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism as well as on the boards of San Francisco-based Litquake and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and is a member of the Council of the Friends of the Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley. She and her family live in Northern California, where they enjoy mountain biking and skiing. They are frequent visitors to their local public libraries and are involved in a wide range of community activities.