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Achy Obejas, in conversation with Dr. Rick Rodriguez
Start Date: 3/28/2023Start Time: 6:00 PM
End Date: 3/28/2023End Time: 8:00 PM
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Event Description:
The Sandra K. Wasserman Jewish Studies Center at Baruch College, CUNY, invites you to a special evening with writer, poet, translator and journalist
Achy Obejas, in conversation with Dr. Rick Rodriguez (Department of English, Baruch College),
part of our Discovering Crypto-Jewish Identities

March 28th at 6:00 pm

Newman Vertical Campus
Engelman Recital Hall, BPAC
55 Lexington Avenue (between 24th and 25th Streets—enter at 25th St.)

Achy Obejas is the author of Boomerang/Bumerán, an unique and inspiring bilingual collection of poetry written in a bold, mostly gender-free English and Spanish that addresses immigration, displacement, love and activism. She also authored The Tower of the Antilles, which was a PEN/Faulkner finalist, among other honors. Her novels include Ruins and Days of Awe, which was a Los Angeles Times Best Books of the Year. Her poetry chapbook, This is What Happened in Our Other Life, was both a critical hit and a national best-seller. As a translator, Havana-born Achy has worked with Wendy Guerra, Rita Indiana, Junot Díaz and Megan Maxwell, among others. A recipient of a USA Artists fellowship, an NEA and a Cintas fellowship, among other awards, she lives in the San Francisco Bay area. She was one of the organizers of the #15novCuba Poesiá Sin Fin 2021 marathon in support of change in Cuba.

Days of Awe, Achy Obejas's second novel and third book of fiction, centers on its Cuban American protagonist's discovery of her family's concealed Jewishness: On New Year’s Day, 1959, Alejandra San José was born in Havana, entering the world through the heart of revolution. Fearing the turmoil brewing in Cuba, her parents took Ale and fled to the shores of North America–ending up in Chicago amid a close community of Cuban refugees. As an adult, Ale becomes an interpreter, which takes her back to her homeland for the first time.

There, she makes her way back through San José history, uncovering new fragments of truth about the relatives who struggled with their own identities so long ago. For the San Josés, ostensibly Catholics, are actually Jews. They are conversos who converted to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition. As Alejandra struggles to confront what it is to be Cuban and American, Catholic and Jewish, she translates her father’s troubling youthful experiences into the healing language of her own heart.
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