Brittney Griner to release memoir about ‘unfathomable’ Russian detainment

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Brittney Griner hopes to enlighten people about her detainment in Russia and spread awareness about others being held there through a memoir that’s now in the works.

The WNBA star plans to release a book in the spring of 2024 to detail her nearly 10-month imprisonment following a drug-possession arrest, publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced Tuesday.

“Readers will hear my story and understand why I’m so thankful for the outpouring of support from people across the world,” Griner said in a statement Tuesday. “By writing this book, I also hope to raise awareness surrounding other Americans wrongfully detained abroad.”

Griner was arrested in February 2022 after Russian officials said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

The Phoenix Mercury center said packing the substance was an “honest mistake” and pleaded guilty to drug charges last July. She was sentenced to nine years in prison but returned to the U.S. in December following a prisoner exchange for the Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

“I arrived in Moscow to rejoin the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball team and was immediately detained at the airport,” Griner said in her statement. “That day was the beginning of an unfathomable period in my life which only now am I ready to share. The primary reason I traveled back to Russia for work that day was because I wanted to make my wife, family, and teammates proud.”

The 32-year-old Griner says she hopes sharing her story will bring attention to detainees including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was charged with espionage.

Griner’s memoir, which does not have a title yet, will have a co-author, the publisher says. It will be edited by Jordan Pavlin, the senior vice president and editor-in-chief of Knopf.

The 6-foot-9 Griner is an eight-time WNBA All-Star who won a championship with the Mercury in 2014. She also won a college title with the Baylor Bears and a pair of Olympic gold medals with the U.S. women’s basketball team.