Author Esmeralda Santiago to discuss culture, identity

Esmeralda SantiagoBest-selling author, screenwriter and essayist Esmeralda Santiago will speak at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in SUNY Oswego’s Hewitt Union ballroom.

Santiago’s admission-free talk is presented by SUNY Oswego’s Student Association Programming Board, Latino Student Union and Artswego. The event is also a keynote session for the African, Latino, Asian and Native American Student Leadership Conference on campus.

She addresses topics such as blending her Puerto Rican and American identities, race, culture, identity and social justice.

Called “a welcome new voice, full of passion and authority” by the Washington Post, Santiago has written three best-selling memoirs—“When I Was Puerto Rican,” “Almost a Woman” and “The Turkish Lover”—as well as the novel “America’s Dream.” Santiago earned a Peabody Award for her adaptation of “Almost a Woman” for PBS’s “Masterpiece Theatre.”

Santiago has co-edited two anthologies of Latino literature: “Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share Their Holiday Memories” and “Las Mamis: Favorite Latino Authors Remember Their Mothers.”

She has provided guest commentary on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.” Her essays have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Boston Globe, House and Garden and Sports Illustrated.

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the eldest of 11 children, Santiago lived in a rural barrio before her family came to the United States when she was 13. These experiences of first growing up in an isolated rural community and then maintaining her heritage while becoming a part of her new homeland inspired her first two memoirs.

While her talk is free, tickets are required because of anticipated demand. They are available by contacting Tyler box office at 312-2141 or

- END -

(Posted: Sep 05, 2007)