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Acclaimed writer to visit Longwood University

A nationally-acclaimed poet, short-story writer, novelist, essayist, performer and artist will speak at Longwood University Tuesday, March 24, at 8 p.m., in the Blackwell Ballroom in the Maugans Alumni Center as part of the Longwood Authors Reading Series.

Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros, whose work explores themes of multiculturalism and the lives of the working class, will read from her work. A book signing and reception will follow the reading.

Regarded as a key figure in Mexican-American literature, Cisneros is perhaps best known for her coming-of-age novel, “The House on Mango Street,” published in 1983.

The book won several major literary awards, including the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. The novel has sold more than six million copies, has been translated into more than 20 languages and is required reading in middle school, high school and universities across the country.

Dr. Mary Carroll-Hackett, professor of creative writing and director of the Authors Reading Series, said faculty members have been preparing for Cisneros’ visit since last fall by teaching her fiction and poetry in many classes.

“Sandra Cisneros is a powerful, trail-blazing writer, and we are excited to welcome her to campus and to Farmville next month,” Carroll-Hackett said. “Her work particularly celebrates and examines the lives of working-class people and immigrants, so my hope in inviting her was to appeal not only to the university but to the surrounding communities.”

Cisneros’ numerous awards include National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, several honorary doctorates and national and international book awards, including Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award, the Fairfax Prize, and the National Medal of the Arts awarded to her by President Obama in 2016.

Most recently, she received the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change Fellowship, was recognized among The Frederick Douglass 200, and won the PEN/Nabokov Award for international literature.

Cisneros was the first female Mexican-American writer to have her work published by a mainstream publisher and biculturalism and bilingualism are important aspects of her award-winning writing.

She was born in Chicago and is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico. Cisneros is widely acknowledged as a pioneer in the Chicana literary field, which is literature written by Mexican-American authors emerging from the Chicana Feminist movement.

The event is organized by the English and Modern Languages Department of Longwood University.