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Biography

Elaine Elinson's latest book, coauthored with Stan Yogi,
Wherever There's a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California ,
(Heyday Books in October 2009) won a Gold Medal from the California Book Awards in 2010 and was named a Foreword Book of the Year in History.

Elinson, a former reporter with Pacific News Service in Southeast Asia, is coauthor of Development Debacle: the World Bank in the Philippines, which was banned by the Marcos regime.

The former editor of the ACLU News and communications director of the ACLU of Northern CaliforniaElinson is now a San Francisco-based editor and communications consultant for a wide range of legal and social justice organizations, a creative writing instructor and a book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Truthdig.com and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is a researcher/writer for the National Park Service on civil rights history, digging up hidden histories of the Azorean dairy farmers who headed to the Marin Headlands during the Gold Rush, a successful challenge to the color bar at Sutro Baths by an African American waiter in 1897, and the brutal treatment of Conscientious Objectors in Alcatraz during World War I.

Elinson has a degree in Asian Studies from Cornell University and an MFA in Writing from Goddard College (2005). She has lived in England, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Central America and speaks Spanish, Russian and Mandarin. She also enjoys conversations – albeit very brief – in Tagalog, Cantonese, Portuguese and French.

She has been awarded a writing grant from the California State Library's Civil Liberties Education Project and completed residencies at Hedgebrook, the Anderson Center, Mesa Refuge, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. Her essay on finding solace at the library during a family health crisis was selected by the American Library Association for publication in Woman's Day, March 2009. She was named a Library Laureate by the San Francisco Public Library in 2010.

Her freelance articles and essays have appeared in The Nation, San Francisco Chronicle, the Daily Journal, Rocky Mountain News, Poets and Writers, Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden), West Marin Review, 48 Hills and other newspapers and magazines.

She is currently working on a book based on the recent discovery of her grandmother's diaries spanning the years 1905-1918, with entries from a shtetl in Russia to a tenement in Chicago.