August 28, 2006
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture and Five-College 40th Anniversary Professor at Amherst College is the author of The Disappearance: A Novella and Stories ($22.95, TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press, Bloomington, 2006.) “The Disappearance” tells the story of a Belgian Jewish actor who plots his own kidnapping in order to denounce anti-Semitism in the Low Countries. “Xerox Man,” commissioned by the BBC, is about a book thief. “Morirse esta en hebreo” is a novella about the death of a Mexican patriarch at the time of the 2000 presidential election. A feature film based on the novella and produced by John Sayles will be released at the end of the year.
“Stavans beautifully demonstrates that the best way to suggest the extraordinary is through the ordinary,” according to a Boston Globe review. A Library Journal reviewer wrote, “The Mexican and European Jewish heritage of multilingual screenwriter, translator, critic and fiction writer Stavans is reflected not only in his plots but also in his obvious admiration for such writers as Isaac Bashevis Singer, whose three-volume Collected Stories he edited. This captivating book is highly recommended,” the reviewer concluded. Publishers Weekly noted “These provocative stories read almost like newspaper dispatches, conveying facts and stopping short of analysis. Fans of Stavans’s expansive body of work won’t be disappointed.”
A member of the Amherst faculty since 1993, Stavans is also author of Growing up Latino (1993) and The Hispanic Condition (1995), The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (1998), On Borrowed Words (2001), The Poetry of Pablo Neruda (2003) and most recently Dictionary Days (2005.) He is the editor of the Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (2005.) Stavans has published the first dictionary of Spanglish, titled Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language (2003), and has debated in public the role language plays in public life and civic affairs for African Americans, Latinos and other immigrant groups. Stavans also published a selection of the interviews that he conducted on Conversations with Ilan Stavans on the WGBH (PBS) program La Plaza.