By Stella Katsipoutis-Varkanis

Black and white head shot of author Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli; all photos by Diego Berruecos Gatopardo

Through her critically acclaimed novel Lost Children Archive and other works, Valeria Luiselli has captured and transformed the experiences of those impacted by migration, immigration, and the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. And on March 31, Luiselli will visit the Lafayette campus to deliver this year’s John L. Hatfield ’67 Lecture, in which she will discuss blending art with activism—and using it as a vehicle to drive change. 

In her talk, which is open to the public and will be presented by Lafayette College Libraries, Luiselli will discuss how her experiences—including her time working as a volunteer interpreter for young Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States—have informed and shaped her award-winning works of both fiction and nonfiction.

“Our goal for the Hatfield Lecture has always been to feature great writers who address engaging topics that connect with other things happening on campus,” says Anne Houston, dean of libraries. “Valeria is an ideal Hatfield lecturer because not only does she create moving art, but she writes about topics that our students, our faculty, and the public care about—she makes you think and reframes your perception of the world.”

Registration is not required for the 2022 Hatfield Lecture; however, you can register here to receive lecture status updates as well as a recording of the event.

Born in Mexico City and raised in South Korea, South Africa, and India, Luiselli is the author of Sidewalks, Faces in the Crowd, The Story of My Teeth, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, and Lost Children Archive. Her work has been translated into more than 20 languages and has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Granta, among other publications. She is a writer in residence at Bard College and lives in New York City. Luiselli has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Fiction (The Story of My Teeth), the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction (Lost Children Archive), the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” award, a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

In anticipation of Luiselli’s visit to campus, Lafayette will be hosting a series of events that students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend. Throughout the month of March, Lafayette College Libraries, the Department of International Affairs, International Affairs Club, Refugee Action, and Lafayette College Women in Law will be co-sponsoring a film series on migration. A book discussion on two of Luiselli’s works—Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions and Lost Children Archive—also will be held on March 24 in Skillman Library. Tell Me How It Ends can be accessed as an e-book through the library’s ProQuest subscription, and a physical copy of Lost Children Archive is available to check out from Skillman. Click here for full details on the 2022 Hatfield Lecture and related events

Luiselli’s lecture comes on the heels of various migration-themed exhibits that were featured at the College during the fall semester—including tracing a wound through my body by artist in residence Emilio Rojas, and Hostile Terrain 94 by MacArthur Fellow Jason De León.

The Hatfield Lecture series is sponsored by Lafayette College Libraries and endowed by a generous gift from alumnus John L. Hatfield ’67. The series brings a prominent author to campus for a public lecture and to visit with students. The Hatfield Lecture occurs once a year in the spring, usually in February or early March, and has become an annual highlight for the College. The libraries are proud to provide a home for the series, which has celebrated great writing, since 2008.

Attend the Lecture

  • The 2022 Hatfield Lecture by Valeria Luiselli will be free and open to the public. The talk will be delivered March 31 at 7 p.m. in room 104 of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights. Masks are required. Registration is not required; however, you can register here to receive lecture status updates and a recording of the event.
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