Last Wednesday, April 6, 2011, the Working Group on Caribbean Literature sponsored a reading and lecture by Cuban-American writer Ana Menéndez at the Amsterdam Theater (K. Louwenstraat 1-3, 1055 Amsterdam, Netherlands). The title of her lecture was “The Bilingual Imagination.”
The author spoke of her bilingual upbringing, the difficulties of living in two worlds, the struggle to have the “American dream” to replace the Caribbean dream (Cuban utopia), and how bilingualism affects a writer’s perspectives.
Ana Menéndez, who identifies herself as an American writer, holds an MFA in reative writing from New York University. She is the author of two novels— The Last War (2009) and Loving Che (2003)—and the short story collection In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd, which was a 2001 New York Times Notable book of the year and the title story of which won a Pushcart Prize. Since 1991, Menéndez has worked as a journalist in the United States and abroad, including three years as a prize-winning columnist for The Miami Herald. As a reporter, she has written about Cuba, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and India, where she was based for three years. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New Republic, The New York Times, and Gourmet magazine, and has been included in several anthologies, including Cubanisimo!, edited by Cristina García.
For full review by Quito Nicolaas (in Dutch), see http://caribemagazine.nl/bloggen/literatuur/ana-menendez-tweetalige-schrijvers-zijn-succesvol.html
For review of The Last War, see http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/books/review/Bahadur-t.html