Pirate's Alley Faulkner SocietyWords & Music

Marie Arana

Author of:

Cellophane, Lima Nights, American Chica, 10 X 10



Marie Arana was born in Peru, moved to the United States at the age of nine. She received her BA in Russian Language and Literature at Northwestern University, her MA in Linguistics and Sociolinguistics at Hong Kong University, and a certificate of scholarship (Mandarin language) at Yale University in China. She began her career in book publishing, where she was Vice President and Senior Editor at both Harcourt Brace and Simon & Schuster publishers in New York. In 1993, she started work at The Washington Post as Deputy Editor of the book review section, “Book World.” She was promoted to Editor in Chief of that section, a position she held for ten years. Currently, she is a Writer at Large for The Washington Post and a Senior Consultant at the Library of Congress. In 2008, The Washingtonian magazine called her one of the Most Powerful People in Washington. In 2009, she was Northwestern University’s Alumna of the Year.

Arana has served on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. For many years, she has directed literary events for the Americartes Festivals at the Kennedy Center and has served as an organizer for the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival. She has been a judge for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and for the National Book Critics Circle. Her commentary has been published in The Washington Post, USA Today, The International Herald Tribune, The Week, Civilization, Smithsonian magazine, The National Geographic, the Virginia Quarterly Review, El Comercio, El País, and numerous other publications throughout the Americas.


Arana is the author of a memoir about her bicultural childhood, American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood, which was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award as well as the PEN/Memoir Award, and won the Books for a Better Life Award. She is the editor of a collection of Washington Post essays about the writer's craft, The Writing Life: How Writers Think and Work (2002), which is used as a textbook for writing courses in universities across the country. Her novel Cellophane, set in the Peruvian Amazon, was published in 2006 and selected as a finalist for the John Sargent Prize. Her most recent novel, also set in Peru is Lima Nights. She has written the introductions for many books on Latin America, Hispanicity and biculturalism. She is the scriptwriter for the South American portion of 10 x 10, a full-length feature film on the importance of girls’ education, which will be released in Spring, 2013. Her latest book, a biography of Simón Bolívar, will be published by Simon & Schuster in April 2013.

aulkner Society events are made possible in part by important support from The Arts Council of New Orleans, the City of New Orleans, and the Decentralized Arts Funding Program of The Louisiana Division of the Arts; the J. J. and Dr. Donald Dooley Fund and administrator, Samuel L. Steele, III; Bertie Deming Smith and the Deming Foundation; the Hearst Corporation and Debra Shriver, Vice President; the Law Firm of Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles;Dorignac's & Butch Steadman; the English Speaking Union; Rosemary James, Joseph DeSalvo and Faulkner House, Inc; Randy Fertel and The Ruth U. Fertel Foundation; Arthur & Mary Davis, Quint Davis, and Pam Friedler; Alexa Georges; the Louisiana State Museum; Elizabeth McKinley; Hotel Monteleone; Mr. & Mrs. Hartwig Moss, III; Theodosia M. Nolan, Tia and James Roddy, and Peter Tattersall; Parkside Foundation; Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre; Anne and Ron Pincus; Other Press, a Division of Random House; E. Quinn Peeper and Michael Harold; Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture: Nancy Cater, Editor; the State Library of Louisiana; Judith "Jude" Swenson in memory of her late husband, James Swenson.

Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society
624 Pirate’s Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116
phone: (504) 586-1609 or (504) 525-5615
fax: (504) 522-9725
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