Renowned writer of the Puerto Rican experience

Esmeralda Santiago

visited UAlbany on November 8, 2018, as part of The Creative Life speaker series. She is widely celebrated as a founding mother of Nuyorican literature.


An American classic, her 1993 memoir, When I Was Puerto Rican, was named one of the “Best Memoirs of a Generation” by Oprah’s Book Club. In 2018, it was one of five finalists for the “One Book, One New York” community-wide reading project.


The eldest in a family of 11 children, Santiago came to the States from Puerto Rico at the age of 13. After 8 years of part-time study in community colleges, she transferred to Harvard where she graduated magna cum laude. Her 2011 novel, Conquistadora, set in 19th century Puerto Rico, was hailed as a “triumph” in The Washington Post.

November 8, 2018