Ilan Stavans will read and discuss his new memoir, Return to Centro Histórico: A Mexican Jew Looks for His Roots (Rutgers, 2012).
Ilan Stavans, one of today’s preeminent essayists, cultural critics, and translators, is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture and Five College-Fortieth Anniversary Professor at Amherst College.
In addition to his new memoir, other forthcoming titles are, as translator, Juan Rulfo’s The Plain in Flames (Texas, 2012) and Pablo Neruda’s All the Odes (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012), and, as author, a biography of the novel Don Quixote, forthcoming from W.W. Norton.
A native from Mexico, he received his Doctorate in Latin American Literature from Columbia University. Stavans’ books include The Hispanic Condition (HarperCollins, 1995), On Borrowed Words (Viking, 2001), Spanglish (HarperCollins, 2003), Dictionary Days (Graywolf, 2005), The Disappearance (TriQuarterly, 2006), Love and Language (Yale, 2007), Resurrecting Hebrew (Nextbook, 2008), Mr. Spic Goes to Washington (Soft Skull, 2008), and Gabriel García Márquez: The Early Years (Palgrave, 2010).
He has edited The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (Oxford, 1998), The Poetry of Pablo Neruda (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories (3 vols., Library of America, 2004), The Schocken Book of Sephardic Literature (Schocken, 2005), Cesar Chavez: An Organizer’s Tale (Penguin, 2008), Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing (Library of America, 2009), With All Thine Heart (Rutgers, 2010), The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (W.W. Norton, 2010), and The FSG Books of 20th-Century Latin American Poetry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011).
His play The Disappearance, performed by the theater troupe Double Edge, premiered at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and has been shown throughout the world. His story “Morirse está en hebreo” was made into the award-winning movie My Mexican Shivah (2007), produced by John Sayles. Stavans has received numerous awards and honors, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Jewish Book Award, the Southwest Children Book of the Year Award, an Emmy nomination, the Latino Book Award, Chile’s Presidential Medal, the Rubén Darío Distinction, and the Cátedra Roberto Bolaño.
He was the host of the syndicated PBS show Conversations with Ilan Stavans (2001-2006). His work has been translated into a dozen languages.