Eduardo Halfon's Polish grandfather, Berlin, 1945, just after being liberated from the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen.
In the first of our Writing Lives series, former Fellow Eduardo Halfon will be in conversation with Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology Claudio Lomnitz and Director Mark Mazower. They will discuss the challenges and complexities of recasting family experience as history and literature through the prism of their experiences as writers and researchers, bringing to life deeply personal stories of exile, displacement and resettlement across the twentieth century from the Jewish heartlands of eastern Europe to what Lomnitz calls Nuestra America.
About the speakers:
Claudio Lomnitz is an anthropologist, historian and critic who works broadly on Mexican culture and politics. Lomnitz teaches at Columbia University, where he is the Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology, and director of the Center for Mexican Studies. His books include Death and the Idea of Mexico and The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón, among many others. As a regular columnist in the Mexico City paper La Jornada and an award-winning dramaturgist, Lomnitz is committed to contributing to bringing the historical social sciences into public debate. His book Nuestra América: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation is narrative about his grandparents’ life and movements from Eastern Europe through much of South America, and reflects on the connection between Jewish emancipation and (South) American consciousness, and it will appear in print in February 2021 with Other Press.
Eduardo Halfon was born in Guatemala City in 1971. He moved to the United States with his family at the age of ten, went to school in Florida, studied Industrial Engineering at North Carolina State University, and then returned to Guatemala to teach literature during eight years at Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Although bilingual, Halfon chooses to write in Spanish and has published fourteen books of fiction. In 2011 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to work on continuing the story of The Polish Boxer, his most translated book, now in more than ten languages. His latest novel, Mourning, was awarded the Premio de Las Librerías de Navarra (Spain), the Prix du meilleur livre étranger (France), the Edward Lewis Wallant Award (US), and the International Latino Book Award (US). In 2015, he was given in France the Prix Roger Caillois de littérature latino-américaine. And in 2018, he was awarded Guatemala’s National Prize in Literature, his country’s highest literary honor.