Author on deadline with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for spring 2020 publication, 2018 – present.

Certified Spanish interpreter for immigration court and other civil matters, 2003-2018


The Best American Essays 2017, “Snakebit,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2017.

Golden State 2017: The Best New Writing from California, “In Any Light, By Any Name,” Outpost 19, 2017.

Dig if You Will the Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince, “Birthday Suit,” Barrelhouse Books, Spring 2017.


“Lottery,” Tin House, Spring 2019.

“Perfect on the Rocks,” Barrelhouse, Summer 2018.

“Here Comes Arialia,” River Teeth, Spring/Summer 2018.

“Finding El Saez,” Nowhere Magazine, June 2017.

“Stories from a Sanctuary City Courtroom” (pseudonym Idalia Long), The Establishment, April 2017.

“Chasing Arrows,” New England Review, Spring 2016.

“Motel Ecstasy,” The Rumpus, Spring 2016.

“Snakebit,” The Threepenny Review, Spring 2016.

“Oracle,” The Normal School, November 2015.

“Galloping Away to a Place Beyond Words,” The New York Times, August 2015.

“The Presidents at Table,” Huizache, July 2015.

“My Mother the Ganja Dealer,” Narratively, December 2014.

“In Any Light, By Any Name,” Tin House, Winter 2014.

“Processing Children,” The Rumpus, 2014.

“The In & Out,” ZYZZYVA, Summer 2008.


“To Die Early, While the General Receives Communion: A True Story that Ends in the Open Air” by Maruxa Vilalta, Eleven Eleven, 2016.


“The Brownie Lady,” Criminal (PRX Podcast), an audio documentary about the Volz family’s cannabis business that has been downloaded over 4,000,000 times, Fall 2016.


“Finding El Saez” named among “Notable Essays and Honorable Mentions” in both The Best American Essays 2018 and The Best American Travel Writing 2018.

In-progress novel, HOOF, voted by the students of UCLA-extension’s Developmental Editing Seminar as the focus of the summer 2018 session

“Snakebit” chosen by Leslie Jamison for The Best American Essays 2017

“Snakebit” among two essays featured by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in The Best American Series: 16 Stories and Essays, Fall 2017

“Chasing Arrows” named among “Notable Essays and Honorable Mentions” in The Best American Essays 2017

2016 Travel Writing Contest Finalist, Nowhere Magazine, Spring 2017

The Moth’s GrandSLAM Championship, First Runner-up, September 2014

Voted “Best Writer Without a Book in San Francisco,” SF Weekly, 2014

Champion, Literary Death Match: Episode 42, Winter 2012

Awarded “Best Nonfiction of 2012” from The Writing Disorder, Winter 2012

Pushcart Prize Nomination for “Nightfishing” from The First Line, 2006


Ucross Foundation Fellowship, Spring 2019

MacDowell Colony Fellowship, Spring 2018

Ora Lerman Charitable Trust Fellowship, Soaring Gardens Artist Retreat, Summer 2016

Writing Between the Vines Fellowship, Inman Family Wines, Spring 2016

Oakley “Tad” Hall Prose Scholarship, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Summer 2014

Oakley Hall Memorial Scholarship, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Summer 2011


“Straight, No Chaser: Writers at the Bar,” Litquake Festival, annually 2013-2018

San Francisco International Arts Festival, “Red Hot Storytelling,” summer 2018

“A Night with The Best American Essays,” Litquake Festival, 2017

 “No Burritos: A Night with Huizache Magazine,” Litquake Festival, 2015

The Moth GrandSLAM Championship, (First Runner-up), July 2014

“Get Lit – Get Lucky! Literary Dating Game,” Litquake Festival Fundraiser, Spring 2013

“PASSWORD: Litquake’s Literary Speakeasy,” Litquake Festival Fundraiser, Summer 2012

“Six-Word Memoirs at the CJM,” Contemporary Jewish Museum, July 2012

“Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Presents Literary Death Match,” 2012

“Literary Death Match, San Francisco,” Host and Producer, monthly 2010-2012


College of Santa Fe. Creative Writing and Political Science (2001-2004) with extended study abroad:

Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador (2002-2003)

Universidad de la Habana, Cuba (2003-2004)

Southern California School of Interpretation; Spanish Translation and Interpretation (2004-2006)

Tin House Summer Writers Workshop (2007 & 2012)

Squaw Valley Community of Writers Workshop (2011 & 2014)

Association of Writers and Writing Programs (2015 & 2016)


“The Write Stuff: Alia Volz on Not Settling and Being Difficult to Manipulate,” by Evan Karp, SF Weekly, 2014

“Best Writers Without a Book” by Evan Karp, SF Weekly, April 2014

“Sexy Litquake ‘Password’ to Prohibition” by Louis Peitzman, SF Chronicle, July 2012

“Interview with Alia Volz” by Seth Amos, Dark Sky Magazine, September 2011

“A Book Lover’s San Francisco” by Gregory Dicum, The New York Times, December 2010