The Voyages of Memory: A Conversation with Marjorie Agosin and Ruth Behar

Join us for a free event at the Yiddish Book Center on Sunday, April 7 @ 2:00 p.m. ET

Marjorie Agosin and Ruth Behar, acclaimed Jewish Latin American authors and longtime friends, will talk about their explorations of the voyages of memory in their fiction and other writing. Ruth will present her new middle grade novel, Across So Many Seas, a sweeping historical saga focused on the gripping stories of four girls from many generations of a Sephardic family. Ruth will also speak about the whole corpus of her work on Jewish Cuban heritage. Marjorie will speak about A Cross and a Star: Memoirs of a Jewish Girl in Chile, recently reprinted by the University of New Mexico Press with an introduction by Ruth Behar. In this book Agosin begins to explore her mother’s memory growing up in the south of Chile with pro-Nazi German settlers. She will speak about how memories are constructed through the oral testimonies of her mother and others in the community. She will also speak about the construction of memory in her most recent book, Aldo Izzo and the Jewish Cemetery of the Lido.

This event take places at the Yiddish Book Center. The event is free but registration is encouraged.

Headshot of Ruth Behar.

Ruth Behar is an anthropologist and creative writer who is acclaimed for the compassion she brings to her quest to understand the depth of the human experience. She was born in Havana and has dedicated her scholarship to the Spanish-speaking world, carrying out research in Spain, Mexico, and Cuba that has yielded pioneering writing across disciplines and genres. She is the author of Translated Woman, The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart, An Island Called Home, and Traveling Heavy, as well as anthologies, essays, a volume of poetry (Everything I Kept), and an award-winning documentary, Adio Kerida, about the Sephardic Jews of Cuba. She has won acclaim for her middle grade novels, Lucky Broken Girl and Letters from Cuba, and her picture books, Tía Fortuna’s New Home and Pepita Meets Bebita, co-authored with her son, Gabriel Frye-Behar. Her new middle-grade novel, Across So Many Seas, has been described by Sandra Cisneros as singing with “poetry and history and story all at once.” The first Latina to be named a MacArthur “genius,” Behar has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University, and the Carnegie Corporation’s Great Immigrant Award. She is the James W. Fernandez Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Headshot of Marjorie Agosin

Marjorie Agosín was raised in Chile, the daughter of Jewish parents. Heeding rumors of the coup that would install Augusto Pinochet, Agosín’s family left the country for the United States, where Agosín earned a BA from the University of Georgia and an MA and a PhD from Indiana University. In both her scholarship and her creative work, she focuses on social justice, feminism, and remembrance. Agosín is the author of numerous works of poetry, fiction, and literary criticism. Her collections include The Angel of Memory (2001), The Alphabet in My Hands: A Writing Life (2000), Always from Somewhere Else: A Memoir of my Chilean Jewish Father (1998), An Absence of Shadows (1998), Melodious Women (1997), Starry Night: Poems (1996), and A Cross and a Star: Memoirs of a Jewish Girl in Chile (1995).
Agosín has received numerous honors and awards for her writing and work as a human rights activist, including a Jeanette Rankin Award in Human Rights and a United Nations Leadership Award for Human Rights. The Chilean government honored her with a Gabriela Mistral Medal for Lifetime Achievement. Agosín is the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American studies and a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College.