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Esmeralda Santiago: Writing a Life
March 8, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Esmeralda Santiago, author of 2020 Arlington Reads Together pick When I Was Puerto Rican, kicks off a month of Puerto Rico themed programs and events when she presents, “Esmeralda Santiago: Writing a Life,” Books will be available for purchase and signing after the event, courtesy of The Book Rack. The program is presented by the Arlington Libraries Foundation.
Esmeralda Santiago was born in Puerto Rico and came to the United States when she was thirteen years old. She is the author of three memoirs, two novels, a children’s book, and has co-edited two anthologies of Latino literature. Her transcultural experiences growing up in a rural barrio, poor and disenfranchised, inspire much of her work and her books have been translated into fifteen languages. Upon publication of the ground-breaking memoir When I Was Puerto Rican, Santiago was hailed by the Washington Post Book World as “a welcome new voice, full of passion and authority.” Her first novel, America’s Dream, was made into a movie by executive producer Edward James Olmos. Her second memoir, Almost a Woman is a George Foster Peabody-award winning film for PBS Masterpiece Theatre’s “American Collection.” She is the only living author in this prestigious series that includes James Agee, Willa Cather, Langston Hughes, Eudora Welty and Henry James.
Esmeralda Santiago is passionate about the need to encourage and support the artistic development of young people with storytelling and media literacy. She is a spokesperson on behalf of public libraries and has travelled extensively as a cultural ambassador for the State Department. Her essays and opinion pieces have been published widely and she is a frequent guest commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, LatinoUSA, and The TakeAway. Santiago graduated from Harvard University, earned a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and has Honorary Doctorates from Trinity College, Pace University, Metropolitan College/NYC, and University of Puerto Rico/ Mayagüez. She has served on the boards of The Jacob Burns Film Center, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and PEN American Center. The mother of two adult children, she lives in New York with her husband, award-winning documentary filmmaker, Frank Cantor.