WMU News

Latin American author to lecture on campus

Sept. 26, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Notable El Salvadorian author and playwright Mario Bencastro will deliver a free public lecture and reading at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6, in Room 1021 of Brown Hall as part of Western Michigan University's Visiting Scholars and Artists Program.

Bencastro's first novel, "A Shot in the Cathedral," was chosen from among 204 works as a finalist for the 1989 Novedades y Diana International Literary Prize of Mexico. The book focuses on the 1979 coup d'etat in El Salvador and the events surrounding the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

"Odyssey to the North," his second novel, was a finalist in the United States' 1999 Independent Publishers Book Awards. That work chronicles the experiences of a generation of Central American immigrants living in this country.

In addition to his novels, he has written and directed "Crossroad," a play chosen for the Bicentennial Festival for the Performing Arts at Georgetown University.

His latest works have focused on Hispanic immigration and the experiences of Central Americans. His current novel, "Voyage to the Land of Grandfather," examines the ambitions and conflicts of immigrant children in the United States and was written with the help of students at Belmont High School in Los Angeles.

Bencastro's visit is co-sponsored by WMU's departments of Spanish and English, the American Studies Program and the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program at WMU was established in 1960 and has supported more than 500 by scholars and artists representing some 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Carol Bennett, instructor in the Department of Business Information Systems.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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