Marie Arana is a prize-winning author and editor. Currently a Writer at Large for The Washington Post, she was for many years the editor in chief of The Post’s book review section. She sits on the Scholars’ Council at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, where she was Distinguished Scholar from 2009-2010. In 2009 she was named Alumna of the Year by Northwestern University. She has been a Vice President and Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster Publishers and a Senior Editor at Harcourt Brace Publishers. She is the author of “American Chica,” a memoir about growing up in two languages and cultures, which was a finalist for the National Book Award as well as the PEN/Memoir Award, and winner of the Books for a Better Life Award. She is also the author of two novels: “Cellophane”, a finalist for the John Sargent Prize, and “Lima Nights,” her most recent work of fiction. Her book, “The Writing Life: How Writers Think and Work,” is a staple in creative writing courses around the country. She has served as chairman of Pulitzer Prize juries as well as National Book Award juries, both in fiction and nonfiction. She has been on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle as well as the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She is currently a key organizer as well as a board member of the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival. For many years, she directed literary events for the Americartes Festivals at the Kennedy Center. At present, she is at work on a biography of Simón Bolívar, which is on contract with a major publisher.