Cecilia Ballí is a nonfiction writer who works between journalism and ethnography. She writes magazine stories and personal essays about the U.S.-Mexico border, where she has done fieldwork and reporting on gender killings, drug violence, migration, and the border fence. Previously a professor in the University of Texas at Austin's anthropology department, she left the academy to pursue full-time writing and reporting. She is a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly, has contributed to Harper's Magazine, and is presently writing for The New York Times Magazine. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, and the J. Anthony Lukas Book-in-Progress Award. She has held artists' residencies at the Lanesboro Arts Center, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Lannan Foundation, and was the 2014-2015 Jesse H. Jones Dobie Paisano Fellow.
Ballí grew up on the south Texas border, where she began writing for her hometown daily, The Brownsville Herald, as a high school senior. She holds a B.A. in American Studies and Spanish from Stanford and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Rice, and lives in Houston.