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Cristina Garcia
Cristina Garcia


NYS Writers Institute, May 8, 2008
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Science Library 340
8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center


Cristina Garcia, National Book Award finalist for “Dreaming in Cuban” and former bureau chief for TIME, will discuss her new novel, “A Handbook to Luck,” about the Las Vegas immigrant experience, on Thursday, May 8, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will present an informal seminar in Science Library 340 on the uptown campus. The events, which are free and open to the public, are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.


Cristina Garcia, prize-winning Cuban-American novelist and former Miami Bureau Chief for TIME is the author most recently of “A Handbook to Luck” (2007). The novel tells the stories of three immigrants from countries in conflict—Enrique of Cuba, Marta of El Salvador, and Leila of Iran—whose fortunes intersect, unpredictably, in the casinos of Las Vegas. “Elle” magazine called it “a magically lyrical meditation on life and human dreams.” “USA Today” called it “graceful... beautiful... provocative.” “People” magazine said, “Garcia expertly braids each of the stories together, tenderly tracing the passage of these 1960s children into 1980s adults as they begin to discover the often unavoidable gap ‘between what you planned and what actually happened.’”

Garcia’s previous novels include “Monkey Hunting” (2003), a novel of the Chinese Cuban experience; “The Agüero Sisters” (1997), winner of the Kafka Prize; and “Dreaming in Cuban” (1992), a finalist for the National Book Award. With “Dreaming in Cuban,” Garcia established a reputation as an important new voice in Latin American literature. The novel chronicles the irrevocable effects of the Cuban revolution on the del Pino family from the 1930s to the early 1980s. “New York Times” reviewer Michiko Kakutani called the book a “dazzling first novel” and praised Garcia as “a magical new writer. . .blessed with a poet’s ear for language, a historian’s fascination with the past and a musician’s intuitive understanding of the ebb and flow of emotion.”

Garcia worked on “Dreaming in Cuban” as a workshop participant at the New York State Summer Writers Institute. She credits workshop instructor Russell Banks with helping her to find an agent and publisher for the book.

Garcia’s second novel, “The Aguero Sisters” (1997), continues her exploration of the fracturing of identity and the quest for what constitutes “Cuban-ness.” “Detroit Free Press” reviewer Jennifer Juarez Robles praised it as “one of the most breathtaking novels of the year and confirms Garcia’s mastery of infinite possibilities.” “Monkey Hunting” (2003) represents one of the most important fictional chronicles of “Chino-Latino” life. “Publishers Weekly” called it, “a richly patterned mini-epic, a moving chorus of distinct voices.”

Garcia is also editor of “Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano Literature” (2006) and “Cubanismo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature” (2003). “Booklist” called “Bordering Fires,” “timeless in its artistry and timely in its topic.... [a] vital and defining collection of poetry, fiction, and essays.”

Cristina Garcia left Havana with her family when she was two and grew up in New York City. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University and the recipient of the Whiting Writers Award.

Previous Visit: February 9, 1999

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.