Rita Gardner grew up on her expatriate family’s coconut farm in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Living in a remote coastal village, she was home-schooled and began writing, reading and painting at an early age. She returned to the U.S. to attend high school and later moved to California. Her essays, articles, poetry, and photographs appear in literary journals, travel magazines, and newspapers and she is the recipient of writing residencies at Hedgebrook and Lit Camp.
Gardner’s award-winning memoir The Coconut Latitudes: Secrets, Storms, and Survival in the Caribbean was published in 2014 by She Writes Press. In 2015, it won two top national awards in the category of memoir. She is featured in The Magic of Memoir, a collection of inspirational stories and tips for memoir writers coming in fall 2016 by She Writes Press. Gardner will also be included in Wandering in Andalusia: The Soul of Southern Spain, a literary travel anthology to be published by Wanderland Writers in December 2016.
Rita lives by the San Francisco Bay and follows her childhood passions – writing, traveling, hiking, and photography. She continues to dream in Spanish, dance the merengue, and gather inspiration from nature and the ocean. Her favorite color is Caribbean blue.