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Herbert H. and Sofia P. Reuner Library Writers Series
The SUNY Ulster Herbert H. & Sofia P. Reuner Library Writers Series is a special program begun in 1998, sponsored by The Ulster Community College Foundation, that brings renowned writers to campus every fall. This is a truly unique opportunity for SUNY Ulster students and community members to hear award winning authors read from their work.
Thursday, November 7, 2019
10:15 - 11:30
TomImpola, SUNY Ulster Professor of English, will moderate the discussion.
The New York Times claimed his debut novel, Bodega Dreams (Random House), a “New Immigrant Classic,” which has since gone on to become a landmark in contemporary literature and is required reading in many high schools and colleges around the country. His second novel, Chango’s Fire (HarperCollins) was also well received, the Washington Post declared, “it succeeds in its rich characterizations of the people of the Barrio. Quiñonez ably illuminates the sordid politics of gentrification and the unexpected places new immigrants turn to for social and spiritual support.” His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Newsweek, El Pais, Latina Magazine and elsewhere.
In a stunning narrative combining the gritty rhythms of Junot Diaz with the noir genius of Walter Mosley, Bodega Dreams pulls us into Spanish Harlem, where the word is out: Willie Bodega is king. Need college tuition for your daughter? Start-up funds for your fruit stand? Bodega can help. He gives everyone a leg up, in exchange only for loyalty--and a steady income from the drugs he pushes. Lyrical, inspired, and darkly funny, this powerful debut novel brilliantly evokes the trial of Chino, a smart, promising young man to whom Bodega turns for a favor. Chino is drawn to Bodega's street-smart idealism, but soon finds himself over his head, navigating an underworld of switchblade tempers, turncoat morality, and murder.
When Julio, a teenager living in Spanish Harlem, hears that Taina, a pregnant fifteen-year-old from his high school claims to be a virgin, he decides to believe her. Julio has a history of strange visions and his blind and unrequited love for Taina will unleash a whirlpool of emotions that will bring him to question his hard-working Puerto Rican mother and his communist Ecuadorian father, his beliefs and even the building blocks of modern science (after seeing the conception of Taina's baby as a revolution in nature).
In New York City's Spanish Harlem, Julio and Maritza are each searching for a path that will give their lives meaning, even if it's shadowed by controversy. Julio is an arsonist for hire, pocketing thousands of dollars from investors eager to capitalize on more expensive real estate. But when he has reason to stop setting his neighborhood ablaze and vows to change his ways, Julio's employers threaten his life -- and the lives of those close to him. Maritza, meanwhile, has become the pastor of a progressive Pentecostal church -- the perfect cover for the scam she's running. For the right price, she'll make anyone an American citizen. With a cast of characters as colorful as the city itself, Ernesto Quiñonez brings to life a landscape we can all recognize.