April 8, 2005
4:15 p.m. Reading
Performing Arts Center
UAlbany, Uptown Campus
Pablo Medina, novelist, poet, and essayist, is the author of eight books. Rooted in a Cuban sensibility, his works explore the exile experience and the complex emotional and psychological ground that his characters traverse. Critic Lourdes Gil claims that "the unexpected combinations of authenticity and fiction seem both surprising and obvious, as Medina reinterprets the variant faces of political control over the centuries and reconstructs the crucible of modernity and a colonial historical tradition."
Medina's most recent novel, "The Cigar Roller" (2005), is narrated by the fiery Amadeo Terra. Though a stroke has incapacitated Amadeo's body to a point where he cannot communicate with the nurse or the nun who tend to him, his mind remains alive and active. His memories find new sorrows and joys filtered through the everyday routines of his life, as he searches for himself in the choices he made that led to his present debilitated state and his probable future. A "Booklist" review described "The Cigar Roler" as "a searing, bitterly humorous analysis of a life."
Medina's works also include the novels "The Return of Felix Nogara" (2000, Persea Books, ISBN 0-89255-251-4) and "The Marks of Birth" (1994), the poetry collections "Puntos de apoyo" (2002), "The Floating Island" (1999), and "Arching into the Afterlife" (1991), and the essay collection "Exiled Memories: A Cuban Childhood" (1990). His work has appeared in "American Poetry Review," "Antioch Review," and "Poetry" among others. He has won an award from the CINTAS Foundation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the Woodrow Wilson/Lila Wallace "Reader's Digest" fund. He came to the United States from Cuba in 1960 at the age of twelve and now lives in New York City. Medina had previously been a guest at the NYS Writers Institute on October 16, 2001.
"This is a novel of sweat-slicked, sorrowful history, mythic and actual at once. The personal, in these pages, is indeed political; madness in his Cuba is moral; and Pablo Medina's clean, honest prose can break your heart." - Frederick Busch on The Return of Felix Nogara
"I much admired Medina's first book, Exiled Memories, and am delighted to report that his novel The Marks of Birth is also a rewarding and well-done work: I recommend The Marks of Birth and hope it finds a wide readership." - Oscar Hijuelos
"Lyrical and powerfully evocative. The Marks of Birth forces us to question the politics of revolt and revolution by examining the spiritual, psychological and material effects on a family in tumult. Medina's prose has the intensity and beauty of poetry, and his characters seem to step off the page and settle in your heart, their voices mingling with the voices of your youth, calling to mind the treasured tyranny of familial love." - Robert Boswell
Angie Cruz is the author of two novels, "Soledad" (2001) and "Let It Rain Coffee" (2005). Though Cruz was born in America, her works are deeply rooted in her Dominican heritage, especially as informed by her childhood in the ethnic barrio of New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood. Her first novel "Soledad" tells the story of an aspiring young artist who must reluctantly return home to her Washington Heights neighborhood when her mother falls mentally ill. A "Library Journal" review noted that "Soledad" was filled with "memorable characters compassionately evoked in a story of people coming to terms with the suffering and disappointment of life. . . this is a promising debut from an author to keep and eye on." The "San Francisco Chronicle" called the book "A vivid, breathing cityscape teeming with raw beauty, danger, and magic."
In her new novel "Let It Rain Coffee," Cruz tells the story of the Colon family, immigrants for the Dominican Republic who come to New York in search of the American dream. Flashing between past and present, the novel examines love, loss, family, and the elusive nature of memory and desire.
Angie Cruz is the recipient of the New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship and the Van Leir Literary Award. She is also a founding member of WILL (Women in Literature and Letters). Ms. Cruz lives in New York City.
|Times Union Article (Medina/Cruz)|
Writers Online Magazine Article (Medina/Cruz)
Writers Online Magazine Article (Medina)