September 5, 2008 (REVISED September 12, 2008) Marie Arana To Deliver Hispanic Heritage Month Keynote

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, editor and author Marie Arana will deliver the keynote address on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.

The theme of this year’s celebration, which runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, is “Getting Involved: Our Families, Our Community, Our Nation.”

Arana is the author of “American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood,” a memoir of growing up between Peru and the United States. A finalist for the 2001 National Book Award and the PEN-Memoir Award, “American Chica” was chosen as one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post and the American Library Association. It was also the winner of the 2001 Books for a Better Life Award.

Arana is also the editor of “The Writing Life,” a collection of her popular column on writers, published every month in The Washington Post. Her novel “Cellophane,” a saga set in the Amazon rainforest of Peru, was published July 2006, and was a finalist for the John Sargent Prize. It was named one of the best books of the year by the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, the Washington Post and Library Journal. Arana has written introductions for many books, the most recent of which was for Robert Haas’s book of aerial photography of South America, “Through the Eyes of the Condor” (2007). Her newest book, “Lima Nights,” will be published in January 2009.

Arana is currently the book editor of The Washington Post. Before her tenure at The Post, she was a vice president for Simon & Schuster and a senior editor for Harcourt Brace Publishers. She has served on the boards of directors of the National Book Critics Circle and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Born in Lima, Peru, she came to the United States at the age of 10. She has a bachelor’s degree in Russian language and literature from Northwestern University; a certificate of scholarship from Yale University in China for her work in Mandarin; and a master’s degree in linguistics from Hong Kong University.

In addition to the Sept. 18 keynote address, the Library will present other events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:

  • BeatHeadz: The Latin American Youth Center Afro-Latin Percussion Ensemble presents a concert and poetry slam, featuring Quique Aviles and Henry Mills, on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 1 p.m. in the Mumford Room.
  • The film “In the Time of Butterflies” will be screened on Friday, October 10, at 11 a.m. in Dining Room A, sixth floor of the James Madison Building.

A special display from the Library’s collections highlighting the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the nation will be on view in the Madison Building foyer throughout the month. On Sept. 10, the Library will launch an online resource page at to highlight its collections about Hispanic Americans and their contributions and accomplishments.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s Web site and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at

The Hispanic and Portuguese collections of the Library of Congress comprise more than 10 million items and are believed to be the most extensive such collections in the world. For more information about the Library’s Luso-Hispanic holdings, visit the Library’s Hispanic Reading Room in person or online at


PR 08-150
ISSN 0731-3527