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Brittney Griner to Publish Memoir on Wrongful Detention in Russia

Brittney Griner to Publish Memoir on Wrongful Detention in Russia

Brittney Griner

The WNBA star will explain in vivid detail what it was like to be wrongfully detained as a political pawn in Russia without speaking the language.

Brittney Griner will publish a memoir detailing the events of the worst year of her life next spring, publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced Tuesday.

The yet-untilted book is Griner’s first detailed account of the years that shaped her life and an incident that captivated the world in 2022.

On February 17, Griner was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow for allegedly having cannabis vape oil in her luggage. Despite public and private efforts to return her to the United States, she was detained, charged, and imprisoned in Russia.

From Olympic champion to hostage, Griner’s memoir traces her life journey. She vividly describes her wrongful detention by the Russian government, navigating a complex legal system in a language she does not speak. Furthermore, Grainer describes the frightening aspects of daily life in a women’s penal colony.

She also chronicles the beginning of the global #WeAreBG movement and the issue of pay equity for women athletes in the United States.

That very inequity inspired Griner to play basketball in Russia for seven years before returning for an eighth on the day she was arrested.

According to a press release announcing the book, Griner’s memoir highlights her emotional turmoil during the ten-month ordeal and her determination to return home.

“I arrived in Moscow to rejoin the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball team and was immediately detained at the airport. That day was the beginning of an unfathomable period in my life which only now am I ready to share,” Griner said. “The primary reason I traveled back to Russia for work that day was because I wanted to make my wife, family, and teammates proud. After an incredibly challenging 10 months in detainment, I am grateful to have been rescued and to be home.”

Readers will be able to relate to her story and understand why she is so grateful for the support she received from various corners of the globe.

Griner said the book is also meant to highlight the plight of other wrongfully detained people.

“By writing this book, I also hope to raise awareness surrounding other Americans wrongfully detained abroad, such as Paul Whelan, Evan Gershkovich, Emad Shargi, Airan Berry, Shahab Dalili, Luke Denman, Eyvin Hernandez, Majd Kamalmaz, Jerrel Kenemore, Kai Li, Siamak Namazi, Austin Tice, Mark Swidan and Morad Tahbaz,” she wrote.

Gershkovich is a Wall Street Journal correspondent that was recently detained in Russia. The White House on Monday said that he was wrongfully detained.

“Our hearts are filled with great concern for Evan Gershkovitch and his family since Evan’s detainment in Russia. We must do everything in our power to bring him and all Americans home,” Griner and her wife Cherelle Griner said in a statement on Instagram last week. “Every American who is taken is ours to fight for and every American returned is a win for us all.”

Initially, Griner's book will be published by Knopf in hardcover, an ebook, and an audiobook by Penguin Random House.

Random House Children’s Books will publish a Young Adult edition in the future.

Griner’s first book, IN MY SKIN: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court, was released in 2015.

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