The WNBA All-Star will speak out for the first time about her experiences in Russian imprisonment
Brittney Griner is ready to share her story.
The cover and publication date for the WNBA All-Star and Phoenix Mercury player's highly anticipated memoir was announced on Tuesday with Good Morning America. Coming Home, forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf in spring 2024, will detail Griner’s experience in Russian imprisonment and her journey back to the United States, for the first time in her own words.
“Coming Home is a story of hope and survival, of before and after,” Griner, 33, said in a statement. “Before, on my way to Russia, a place I’ve called my second home, I was excited to win another title. For eight seasons I played there, won there and lived there for long stretches. A short time later and a world away, I woke up in an after I’d wish on no one.”
On February 17, 2022, Griner was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport for possession of cannabis oil while on her way to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg. The substance is illegal in Russia. Griner was held in a women’s penal colony and pleaded guilty to her charges in July 2022. She received a nine-year prison sentence.
That same month, the Biden administration offered a prisoner swap to bring Griner home in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. After being held in Russia for 10 months, Griner returned to the United States in December 2022.
Griner's book will cover the challenges she faced, including being in Russia soon after the country invaded Ukraine, the difficulties of navigating the Russian legal system and the “emotional and physical anguish” she faced as the first American woman to be held in a Russian penal colony.
Griner will also detail how she was “anchored” by her wife, Cherelle Griner, who spoke out about the arrest and requested help from President Biden, as well as the support she received worldwide through the viral #WeAreBG movement. After she was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2023, Griner has advocated for other Americans arrested abroad, including journalist Evan Gershkovitch and veteran Paul Whelan.
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“Coming Home begins in a land where my roots developed and is the diary of my heartaches and regrets,” Griner said. “But, ultimately, the book is also a story of how my family, my faith, and the support of millions who rallied for my rescue helped me endure a nightmare.”
Coming Home will be published on May 7, 2024.
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