Puerto Rican writer Luis Rafael Sánchez—considered one of the most distinguished Latin American playwrights and novelists—was honored recently in New York with the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Presidential Medal for lifetime achievement in literature, the arts, and education.
The writer expressed that he felt honored by the award “because it comes from Hostos Community College—which was founded out of affirmation, war, and dissatisfaction.” He was referring to the fact that the college was established in 1968 as a result of the struggles of the Puerto Ricans and others in the Latino community to have a higher education institution that would meet the needs of residents of the South Bronx.
The medal—which was conferred at a ceremony at the from Hostos Community College theater—was named after journalist, writer, doctor, and Puerto Rican educator Eugenio María de Hostos, who led and founded schools in several Latin American countries, including the Dominican Republic, where he is buried.
Sánchez—author of La guaracha del Macho Camacho [Macho Camacho’s Beat], which in 1976 earned him recognition as one of the best known voices among the leading writers of Latin America—stressed that Hostos ” has not lost an ounce of relevance and presence. One reads Hostos and the work still resonates as if it had been written yesterday. This is why I am so proud of this award.”
The author, who is also well known for his plays “La pasión según Antígona Pérez” and “Quíntuples,” received the Presidential Medal after a colloquium. Félix Matos, president of the college said that “Sánchez is being honored for his trajectory in literature, the arts, and education. He is honored for his professionalism and achievements in the craft of storytelling. He is honored for his excellence. He is honored for his humanity. And he is also being honored simply because we love him.” Matos reminded the audience that “his plays, novels and stories explore themes that widely challenge race and social class in Puerto Rican society, as well as the conflicts caused by modernity and the unresolved colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States.
For full article (in Spanish), see http://www.primerahora.com/reconocentrayectoriadeescritorluisrafaelsanchez-641959.html