“Because—how do you explain that it is never inspiration that drives you to tell a story, but rather a combination of anger and clarity? How do you say: No, we do not find inspiration here, but we find a country that is as beautiful as it is broken, and we are somehow now part of it, so we are also broken with it, and feel ashamed, confused, and sometimes hopeless, and are trying to figure out how to do something about all that.”
Credit: Alfredo Pelcastre
Valeria Luiselli is an award-winning novelist and essayist. Her most recent novel, Lost Children Archive was a finalist for the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize, and has been named a best book of 2019 by Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, Vulture and Time. Called “daring, wholly original, brilliant. . .fascinating” (NPR), Lost Children Archive re-imagines the classic road trip novel as an urgent examination of the immigration crisis of the US Southern Border. Luiselli’s inventive and compelling novel blends perspectives, literary forms, photographs, news reports and sounds to follow the paths that this unforgettable novel takes to the heart of the most urgent and timely questions of national identity and social justice.
“Luiselli is a master. Not since Lolita has a road trip so brilliantly captured the dark underbelly of the American dream, the gulf between its promise and reality. Luiselli confronts big picture questions: What does it mean to be American? To what lengths should we go to bear witness? Will history ever stop repeating itself? All the while, her language is so transporting, it stops you time and again.” —Carmen Maria Machado, O Magazine
Lost Children Archive sits beside Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions, Luiselli’s ground-breaking book-length essay that has become a touchstone text for those looking to facilitate meaningful and informed conversations around the immigration crisis. Tell Me How It Ends has become a sensation in communities and on college campuses across the country, and Luiselli is a powerful and passionate speaker and advocate for the voices of those whose personal lives have collided with this heated political moment.
Luiselli is also the author of the novels The Story of My Teeth and Faces in the Crowd, and Sidewalks, an essay collection. She is the recipient of a 2019 Macarthur “Genius Grant” and her works have been recognized by the National Book Critics Circle, The National Book Foundation, The New York Times, NPR, The Guardian, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. She is a writer in residence at Bard College in New York.