Join us for a virtual author conversation on W&CF's Crowdcast Channel in honor of My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes. For this event, Quiara will be in conversation with Esmeralda Santiago. This event is co-sponsored by the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture.
A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical story of coming of age against the backdrop of an ailing Philadelphia barrio, with her sprawling Puerto Rican family as a collective muse.
“Quiara Alegría Hudes is in her own league. Her sentences will take your breath away. How lucky we are to have her telling our stories.”—Lin-Manuel Miranda, award-winning creator of Hamilton
Quiara Alegría Hudes was the sharp-eyed girl on the stairs while her family danced in her grandmother’s tight North Philly kitchen. She was awed by her aunts and uncles and cousins, but haunted by the secrets of the family and the unspoken, untold stories of the barrio—even as she tried to find her own voice in the sea of language around her, written and spoken, English and Spanish, bodies and books, Western art and sacred altars. Her family became her private pantheon, a gathering circle of powerful orisha-like women with tragic real-world wounds, and she vowed to tell their stories—but first she’d have to get off the stairs and join the dance. She’d have to find her language.
Weaving together Hudes’s love of books with the stories of her family, the lessons of North Philly with those of Yale, this is an inspired exploration of home, memory, and belonging—narrated by an obsessed girl who fought to become an artist so she could capture the world she loved in all its wild and delicate beauty.
Quiara Alegría Hudes is a writer, wife, mother of two, barrio feminist, and native of West Philly, USA. Hailed for their exuberance, intellectual rigor, and rich imagination, her plays and musicals have been performed around the world. They include the Broadway hit In the Heights and the Pulitzer Prize–winning drama Water by the Spoonful. She also founded Emancipated Stories, an online gallery where people behind bars can share one page of their life story with the world.
Esmeralda Santiago is the author of three groundbreaking memoirs: When I was Puerto Rican, Almost a Woman (which she adapted into a Peabody Award–winning movie for PBS Masterpiece), and The Turkish Lover. Her fiction includes the novels América's Dream (also made into a film) and Conquistadora, and a children's book, A Doll for Navidades. Esmeralda is passionate about the artistic development of young people and has traveled the world as a public speaker encouraging literacy, memoir writing, and storytelling. Her books have been translated into fifteen languages.