NeMLA (North East Modern Language Association), Keynote Speaker, Johns Hopkins University, 2017.
Arizona and New Mexico Book Award, 2016.
PRNDI Award, 2016.
Distinguished Lecture, Litteraturhuset, Oslo, Sweden, May 19, 2016.
National Award for Arts Writing (aka Marfield Prize), finalist, 2016.
Margaret Dalziel Lecture, University of Otago, October 13, 2016.
International Latino Book Awards, 2015.
New York Times Bestseller, 2014.
Martin Sosin Keynote Lecture, Society of Crypto-Jewish Studies, Dallas, July 21, 2014.
Copeland Colloquium, Amherst College, 2014-2015.
Visiting Scholar in the Humanities and Judaic Studies, Brooklyn College, 2014.
Frances Haidt Memorial Lecture in Judaic Studies, Brooklyn College, 2014.
Distinguished Writer, Festival de Poesía de Primavera, Lima, Peru, 2013.
Gold Medal, Book of the Year Award for Translation of The Plain in Flames, ForeWorld, 2013.
Mellon Seminar, Caboom!!!, 2013.
Honored Author, China Book Expo, June 2012.
Soochow Institute of Technology, 25th Soochow Lecture Hall, June 2012.
“Brilliant Minds” Lecture, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, May 2012.
Honored Author, Feria del Libro de Santiago, Chile, 2011.
Humanities Lecture, University of Maryland at Baltimore, October 2011.
Commended Title, Américas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature, 2011.
Skipping Stones Honor Award, 2011.
Southwest Children Book of the Year, 2010.
Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, 2010.
Martin and Rona Schneider Lecture, Brooklyn Public Library, 2010.
Lily Rosman Lecture, Skirball Cultural Center, CA, 2010.
ForeWord Magazine, Best of the Year Award, Becoming Americans, 2009.
Keynote Address, ALTA Conference, Pasadena, CA, 2009.
Carnegie Distinguished Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin, 2009.
Carnegie Corporation, 2009.
Mark Krueger Charitable Trust, 2009.
Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation, 2009.
H. Axel Schupf, 2009.
Martin E. Segal, 2009.
U.S. State Department, 2009.
Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, 2009.
Cesar Chavez Lecture, Hope College, 2009.
Best of Choice, 2009.
Forward 50: Named one of the 50 Most Influential Jews in 2008.
Bloom Lecture, Temple B’nai Abraham, 2008.
U.S. State Department, Project Salpica, 2008.
The Doris Duke Foundation, 2008.
The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, 2008.
The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, 2008.
Naftulin Family Lecture on Studies in Jewish Identity, UCLA.
National Endowment for the Arts, 2007.
Best of Choice, 2007
Audience Award for Best Comedy, Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, 2007.
LAHI 20th Anniversary Award, 2007.
Friends of Amherst College Library, Life Member, 2006.
Harold Grinspoon Foundation, 2006
Jackie M. Pritzen Lecture, Five Colleges, 2006
Rubén Darío Medal and Distinguished Guest of Nicaragua, 2006
Library Journal, Best Reference Book, Encyclopedia Latina, 2005
National Jewish Book Award, 2005
Ytzjak Rabin Lecture, 2005
National Endowment for the Humanities, 2005
Commonwealth Humanities Lecture, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, 2005
Latino Hall of Fame Award, Best Reference Book, Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language, 2004
Presidential Medal of Honor from Chile, 2004
Emmy Awards, Nomination, Best Talk-Show Host, La Plaza: Conversations with Ilan Stavans, 2004
Antonia Pantoja Award, 2004
The Littauer Foundation, 2003
National Foundation for the Humanities, 2003
The Littauer Foundation, 2000
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2000
Council of Editors of Learned Journals, Best New Journal of 1999, Hopscotch: A Cultural Review, runner-up
Utne Reader, Alternative Press Award for Hopscotch in the Art and Design category, December 1999
Book-of-the-Month Club, 1999
Quality Paperback Book Month Selection, 1999
National Foundation for Jewish Culture, 1999
Library Journal, nomination of Hopscotch as "one of the 10 best new magazines," 1999
Guggenheim Fellowship, 1998-99
The Littauer Foundation, 1996
National Book Critics Circle, Nona Balakian Excellence in Reviewing Award, Finalist 1994
The Littauer Foundation, 1994
Quality Paperback Book Month Selection, 1994
Amherst College Faculty Research Award, 1993
Bernard M. Baruch Excellence in Scholarship Award, 1993
The Littauer Foundation, 1992
Latino Literature Prize, 1992
National Endowment for the Humanities, 1991-1992
Poets & Writers, 1991
Spain's Ministry of Culture, 1991
New York State Council on the Arts, Translation Fellowship, 1989
Pluma de Oro Literary Prize, Honorable Mention, 1988
Constantiner Fellowship, 1984-1986