Achy Obejas

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General Information

Name: Achy Obejas

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1956 in Havana, Cuba




Illinois Connection

Obejas moved to Chicago in 1979 and lived there for approximately 30 years.

Biographical and Professional Information

Achy Obejas is a Cuban-American writer and journalist. After leaving Cuba at the age of six, she lived in Michigan City, Indiana until she moved to Chicago in 1979. She has been a journalist with the Chicago Tribune, writing about arts and culture. She has also been the Springer Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Chicago, as well as an advisor for the online prose magazine, Otium.

Obejas is the author of various books, including the award-winning novel Days of Awe and the best-selling This is What Happened in Our Other Life. She is the editor of Akashic's critically acclaimed crime-fiction anthology Havana Noir and the translator (into Spanish) for Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. She is a founding member of the Creative Writing Faculty at the University of Chicago, a member of the Editorial Board of In These Times, the editorial advisory board of the Great Books Foundation, and a blogger for Currently, she is the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College in Oakland, CA, where she also lives.

Published Works

  • We Came All The Way From Cuba So You Could Dress Like This, Cleis, 1994
  • Memory Mambo: A Novel, Cleis, 1996
  • Days of Awe, Ballantine Books, 2001
  • This Is What Happened in Our Other Life, A Midsummer Night's Press, 2007
  • Ruins, Akaschic Books, 2009

Titles at Your Library

We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This?: Stories

ISBN: 093941693X
Release Date: 1994-08-16

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Memory Mambo: A Novel

ISBN: 1573440175
Release Date: 1996-08-05

Find on World Cat

This Is What Happened in Our Other Life

ISBN: 0979420822
Release Date: 2007-11-01

Find on World Cat


ISBN: 1933354690
Release Date: 2009-03-01

Find on World Cat

Literary Awards

Body of Work:

  • Pulitzer for a Tribune team investigation
  • The Studs Terkel Journalism Prize
  • Author of the Year, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, 2011

Memory Mambo

  • Publishers Weekly Starred Review, 1996
  • Lambda Literary Award - Lesbian Fiction, 1996

Days of Awe

  • Lambda Literary Award - Lesbian Fiction, 2001
  • Triangle Award Nominee - Lesbian Fiction, 2002


  • Booklist Starred Review, 2009
  • Society of Midland Authors Award Finalist - Adult Fiction, 2010

Speaking Engagements and Upcoming Appearances

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)

External Links

Achy Obejas on WorldCat


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