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