In this episode, we’ll discuss the life and work of Oscar Hijuelos, who became the first Latino to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for his novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. He wrote rich and radiant novels that brought the Cuban American immigrant experience into the heart of American literature, helping to open the doors for other Latino writers. The Library of America recently released a collection of Hijuelos’s work that includes The Mambo Kings as well as two other influential works: Our House in the Last World and Mr. Ives’ Christmas.
Today we are joined by the two editors of that collection.
Lori Marie Carlson-Hijuelos is an editor, translator, novelist, and anthologist whose collections include Cool Salsa, Red Hot Salsa, and A Path to the World: Becoming You. She is author of the novels The Sunday Tertulia, The Flamboyant, and A Stitch in Air, and the translator of Marjorie Agosín’s La luz del deseo (The Light of Desire). She is the widow of Oscar Hijuelos, whom she married in 1998.
Laura P. Alonso-Gallo is Professor of English at Barry University in Miami. A scholar of Latino, Caribbean, and Cuban American fiction, she is editor of the collections El sexo en la literatura; Evolving Origins, Transplanting Cultures: Literary Legacies of the New Americans; American Voices: Interviews with American Writers, and Identidad y postnacionalismo en la cultura cubana.
Lori and Laura are interviewed by Nate King, Digital Content Associate at the American Writers Museum.