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Valeria Luiselli to Discuss Her Acclaimed Book on Migrant Children

WHEN: 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 26

WHERE: Belo Center for New Media (BMC) 1.202

Based on a draft by Alana Hughes

AUSTIN, Texas — On Oct. 26, The Moody College of Communication will host award-winning Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli for a lecture on her recent book, “Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions,” a vivid account of migrant children hailed by the Texas Observer as the “first must-read-book of the Trump era.”

Luiselli is an assistant professor of romance languages and literature at Hofstra University and a highly regarded novelist and essayist. “Tell Me How it Ends” is a nonfiction examination of her experience working for Citizenship and Immigration Services in New York as an interpreter for refugee children fleeing violence and hardship in Central America.

“The book is organized around the 40-question intake interviews that volunteers administer to each new child asylum-seeker,” writes Michael Agresta, in a review for the Texas Observer. “As the questionnaire unwinds, the reader slowly begins to grasp the impossible choices facing migrant children and their families.”

In this moment of highly politicized immigration debate — heightened by the reversal of DACA, prospects for building a border wall and proposals for stricter policies — Luiselli’s book prompts fundamental questions about the way we understand and communicate about those who seek refuge in the United States.

“I wanted this essay to change the language around how we think about immigration,” said Luiselli in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine. “To eradicate the term ‘illegal’ from people’s normal conversation. To think of children from the Northern Triangle as refugees and not as migrants.”

The lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by Q&A. The Moody College Honors Program is the lead sponsor of the event, with the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Plan II Honors Program as co-sponsors.

“We try to bring in speakers who can share neglected perspectives and challenge what we think we know about pressing concerns in communication and society,” said Dave Junker, director of the Moody College Honors Program. “Her book calls us to attention through the voices of those rarely heard, but who are affected most by immigration politics: children.”

In addition to her recent book, Valeria Luiselli is the author of the book of essays “Sidewalks,” the internationally acclaimed novel “Faces in the Crowd,” which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award, and “The Story of My Teeth,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Los Angeles Times Prize for Best Fiction. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, McSweeney’s and The New Yorker. She was born in Mexico City and has lived in South Africa, Wisconsin, Costa Rica and South Korea. Luiselli has a doctorate in comparative literature from Columbia University and is assistant professor at Hofstra University.

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The cover of her newest book, which will be the topic of her discussion at the Moody College. (Image: Coffee House Press) Advertisements Share this:
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