Middlebury

March 31, 2000

Two Talks on Latino Issues in the United States to be held at Middlebury College on April 7 and April 8 -- "The Facts of Life on the Hyphen" by author Gustavo Pérez Firmat, on April 7; "New Blood: The Transforming Power of Immigration" by journalist Roberto Suro, on April 8

Two talks, "The Facts of Life on the Hyphen" and "New Blood: The Transforming Power of Immigration," will be presented by Latino student organizations at Middlebury College. On Friday, April 7 at 4:30 p.m., Gustavo Pérez Firmat will speak in Room 220 of Middlebury College's Bicentennial Hall on Bicentennial Way, off College Street (Route 125); on Saturday, April 8, at 11 a.m., Roberto Suro will give a talk in the Robert A. Jones Seminar Room of the Geonomics House on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125). Both lectures are free and open to the public.

On Friday, April 7, poet, writer, and scholar Gustavo Pérez Firmat will present "The Facts of Life on the Hyphen." Currently the David Feinson Professor of Humanities at Columbia University in New York, Firmat was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Miami, Fla. In 1995, he was named Duke University Scholar/Teacher of the Year, Duke University's highest award for teaching excellence.

The author of several books and numerous essays and reviews, Firmat has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. His books of literary and cultural criticism include "Idle Fictions" (1982); "Literature and Liminality" (1986); "The Cuban Condition" (1989); "Do the Americas Have a Common Literature?" (1990); and "My Own Private Cuba" (1999). His book "Life on the Hyphen" (1994), upon which the April 7 lecture will be based, was awarded the Eugene M. Kayden University Press National Book Award in 1994, the Latin American Studies Association's Bryce Wood Book Award, and Honorable Mention in the Modern Language Association's Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize.

Firmat has also authored three collections of poetry in English and Spanish, "Carolina Cuban" (1987); "Equivocaciones" (1989); and "Bilingual Blues" (1995). His memoir, "Next Year In Cuba: A Cubano's Coming of Age in America" (1995)--also published in Spanish and English--was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction in 1995. In 1997, Newsweek included Firmat among "100 Americans to watch for the next century," and Hispanic Business Magazine selected him as one of the "100 most influential Hispanics." His forthcoming works, a novel entitled "Americana," and an essay on exile, "Cincuenta lecciones de exilio y desexilio," are scheduled to appear in 2000.

On Saturday, April 8,Washington Post staff writer and author Roberto Suro will present "New Blood: The Transforming Power of Immigration." As writer for The New York Times from 1985-1993, Suro covered regional and national immigration-related stories. He wrote for Time magazine from 1978-1985, covering the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua and its immediate aftermath in 1979. While the general assignment reporter for The Chicago Sun-Times from 1975-1977, Suro was responsible for the coverage of Chicago's Hispanic communities.

Suro is the author of several works including his book, "Strangers Among Us: How Latino Immigration Is Transforming America" (1998), as well as two reports for the Twentieth Century Fund, "Watching America's Door: The Immigration Backlash and the New Policy Debate" (1996) and "Remembering the American Dream: Hispanic Immigration and National Policy" (1994).

An experienced public speaker, Suro has presented at the annual meetings of the Council on Foundations, the Business Council, and at Georgetown University's department of sociology and the New School of Social Studies. He was keynote speaker for Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations at the Department of Justice and George Mason University, and he served as panel moderator for the Latino Film Festival and a Georgetown University Law Center symposium on race and immigration. He is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

For more information contact student organizer Brenda Fraire of the Middlebury College Organización Latinoamericana y Española at 802-443-7247, or Nubia Pacheco of Alianza Lationoamericana y Caribeña at 802-443-6860.