Latino Stars Illuminate National Book Festival

President and Mrs. Obama Serves as Honorary Co-Chairs of the 2012 Library of Congress National Book Festival

Published on LatinoLA: September 15, 2012

Latino Stars Illuminate National Book Festival

With The President and Mrs. Obama serving as Honorary Chairs, the 2012 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS NATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL features the brightest stars of Hispanic literature today: Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz, MacArthur fellow Sandra Cisneros of "The House on Mango Street", and National Endowment for the Arts fellow Giannina Braschi.

With nearly 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S. according to the Census, the National Book Festival presents a powerful roster of diverse Hispanic authors whose works span literary genres and languages.

Having written classics in Spanish, Spanglish, and English, Giannina Braschi opens Day 2 of the festival on September 23 at 12 pm at the Poetry and Prose Pavilion. Author of the postmodern poetry classic Empire of Dreams and the bestselling Spanglish novel Yo-Yo Boing!, Braschi will debut scenes from her new book "United States of Banana". Her work celebrates the cultural journey of nearly 50 million Hispanics living in the US and explores the shifting powers in the Americas from the "tippy top of the Ukon to the tippy toes of Tierra del Fuego."

The 12th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will be on Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23, 2012, between 9th and 14th streets on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The event, free and open to the public, will run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 12pm to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, rain or shine. 200,000 people are expected to attend.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library's rich resources and treasures may be accessed online via www.loc.gov.

Representatives from across the United States and its territories will celebrate their unique literary offerings in the Pavilion of the States. The Let's Read America Pavilion will offer reading activities that are fun for the whole family. (Link: http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/authors)


Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, has used his writing to oppose authoritarianism and to condemn societies that fetter personal freedom. His works include "The Time of the Hero" (1963), "The Green House" (1966), "Conversation in the Cathedral" (1969), "The War of the End of the World" (1987), "The Storyteller" (1987) and "The Dream of the Celt" (2010). In the early 1970s Vargas Llosa began to advocate democracy and the free market. In the late 1980s he ran unsuccessfully for the presidency of Peru, recorded in his memoir "A Fish in the Water" (1993).

Giannina Braschi, called "one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin America today" by PEN, wrote the postmodern poetry classic "Empire of Dreams/El imperio de los sue??os" and the Spanglish tour de force novel "Yo-Yo Boing!" The Associated Press praised Braschi's explosive new book "United States of Banana" as a work of unlimited imagination and fearless language. She writes in a blend of poetry, prose, and drama, also mixing Spanish, Spanglish, and English. She writes in these three languages to express the enculturation process of millions of Hispanic immigrants to the USA and to explore the three politic options of her native Puerto Rico--Nation, Colony or State. She has won grant/awards from National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Ford Foundation, Danforth Scholarship, Reed Foundation, Puerto Rican Institute of Culture, and PEN American Center. Prior to discovering literature, Giannina Braschi was the youngest female tennis champion of Puerto Rico and a founding member of El Coro de Ni??os de San Juan.

Junot D?¡az is the author of "Drown" and "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize, among many other awards. His fiction has been published widely, including in The New Yorker, African Voices, Best American Short Stories and The O'Henry Prize Stories 2009. His fellowships include one from the National Endowment for the Arts. His new book is "This Is How You Get Her" (Penguin/Riverhead).

Sandra Cisneros, MacArthur winner, has worked as a teacher and a counselor to high school dropouts, an instructor of creative writing, a college recruiter, an arts administrator and as a visiting writer at several universities, including the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Her books include two poetry collections, "Bad Boys" and "My Wicked Wicked Ways"; a short story collection, "Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories"; and the novels "The House on Mango Street" and "Caramelo." She has just finished "Have You Seen Marie?" a richly illustrated fable for adults.

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