Thu, Feb 09|
When Trying to Return Home | Author Event with Debut Author Jennifer Maritza McCauley and Ivelisse Rodriguez.
A dazzling debut collection spanning a century of Black American and Afro-Latino life in Puerto Rico, Pittsburgh, Louisiana, Miami, and beyond—and an evocative meditation on belonging, the meaning of home, and how we secure freedom on our own terms.
Time & Location
Feb 09, 2023, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST
About the Event
About the Book
Profoundly moving and powerful, the stories in When Trying to Return Home dig deeply into the question of
belonging. A young woman is torn between overwhelming love for her mother and the need to break free
from her damaging influence during a desperate and disastrous attempt to rescue her brother from foster
care. A man, his wife, and his mistress each confront the borders separating love and hate, obligation and
longing, on the eve of a flight to San Juan. A college student grapples with the space between chivalry and
machismo in a tense encounter involving a nun. And in 1930s Louisiana, a woman attempting to find a place
to call her own chances upon an old friend at a bar and must reckon with her troubled past.
Forming a web of desires and consequences that span generations, McCauley’s Black American and
Afro–Puerto Rican characters remind us that these voices have always been here, occupying the very center of
American life—even if we haven’t always been willing to listen.
About the Author
Jennifer Maritza McCauley is a writer, poet, and university professor. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Kimbilio, CantoMundo and the Sundress Academy for the Arts. She holds an MFA from Florida International University and a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Missouri. The author of the cross-genre collection SCAR ON/SCAR OFF, she is an assistant professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
About the Conversation Partner:
Ivelisse Rodriguez’s debut short story collection Love War Stories was a 2019 PEN/Faulkner finalist and a 2018 Foreword Reviews INDIES finalist. It was noted as a must read or best book of the year in over thirty publications, including O magazine, Women’s Health, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and more. She is a contributing arts editor for the Boston Review, where she acquires fiction. She is a 2022 Letras Boricuas fellow, a Tanne Foundation award winner, a Kimbilio fellow, a VONA/Voices alum. She earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College and a Ph.D. in English-creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago.