Gretchen Holm is a fifth-generation Berkeley native and third-generation UC Berkeley graduate. She has long been interested in place-writing, both professionally and academically. While studying at UC Berkeley, she took multiple classes related to travel- and place-writing, as well as a course co-taught by former Poet Laureate Robert Hass on the intersection between environmental studies and writing.
She has professionally honed her place-writing skills with work including several years as About.com's Guide to Oakland and the East Bay. Her place- and travel-related articles have also appeared in outlets including Earthlines Magazine, Rendezvous En France Magazine, USA Today.com, and many more.
Gretchen was awarded the H.W. Hill Prize for students "who have demonstrated excellence in their field(s) of study and an interest in the welfare of the United States." Her writing has been described as placing her "very much in [Joan] Didion’s league as a shrewd observer of the American scene."