Poets & Writers

Angles of Experience

WE EXPECT so much of writers. Theirs is a complicated responsibility. They must be sophisticated yet grounded; they should inspire readers to action yet remain neutral as artists. Valeria Luiselli is acutely aware of these boundaries, but within that understanding she is constantly interrogating its limits. She has experienced firsthand the benefits of living life without borders. Born in Mexico City in 1983, Luiselli has lived in South Africa, Costa Rica, South Korea, India, Spain, and elsewhere; she now lives in New York City. As a writer she doesn’t confine herself to fiction or nonfiction but instead allows the passion of her interests to guide her note-taking and writing. The genre makes itself known only after she has considered her subject from a variety of angles. Her first books, the novel and the essay collection , were released in 2012 by the Mexican publisher Sexto Piso. Word of this bright new talent spread quickly, and Granta Books published the first English translations, by Christina MacSweeney, of and in the U.K. in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In 2014, the year Coffee House Press published U.S. editions of both titles, Luiselli was named one of the National Book Foundation’s Five Under Thirty-Five. went on to win the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction from the . A year later, her innovative novel (Coffee House Press), also translated by MacSweeney, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award as well as the Best Translated Book Award, going on to win the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction as well as the Metropolis Azul Prize in Canada. As she continued to work on her books, Luiselli contributed to the , , the , and . It was John Freeman’s self-titled journal in which she published the essay that would become (Coffee House Press, 2017). Structured around the questions Luiselli was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism and the Kirkus Prize for nonfiction.

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