Mexicana Who Worked As Translator For Migrant Kids Wins MacArthur Genius Grant
Valeria Luiselli has been awarded a $625,000 "Genius Grant" by the MacArthur Foundation for her "exceptional" work.
Luiselli, a Mexican-born writer and advocate, has been working to help migrant children, and writing about what they face - so the world will know.
Valeria Luiselli has just been awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, an award also known as a MacArthur "Genius Grant," since it recognizes persons whose significant accomplishments demonstrate outstanding talent, exceptional creativity, and promise of more to come.
And her accomplishments have been significant, bringing the migration crisis and firsthand experience of the plight of migrant children to an international audience.
#MacFellow @ValeriaLuiselli is challenging conventional notions of authorship, and posing profound questions about the various ways we piece together stories. ????????????????????https://t.co/UPpeh4iowB pic.twitter.com/Vt5gNezrIH— MacArthur Foundation (@macfound) September 25, 2019
Valeria's work as a court translator for migrant children motivated her to write two books, the non-fiction Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions, which is written in the same interview format used with migrant children in court and includes her own experience trying to get a green card, and the novel, Lost Children Archive, which was inspired by Valeria's own daughter trying to understand the migration crisis
Ja pots recuperar la conversa entre @ValeriaLuiselli i @jordinopca???? https://t.co/bLyVQgFJqy— CCCB (@cececebe) September 21, 2019
???? Luiselli: "Si les damos las herramientas adecuadas, las personas que mejor podrán contar las historias de migración son los niños que ahora mismo están viviendo esta diáspora". pic.twitter.com/JHYLLTJRTI
Valeria was born in Mexico City and moved to the US with her family when she was 2 years old. Throughout her childhood, she lived in many different countries before moving back to Mexico at 16 and eventually studying philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
After graduating from UNAM, she went on to get her Ph.D. from Columbia University in New York, where she now lives with her daughter, niece, and husband, Mexican novelist Álvaro Enrigue.
In addition to her advocacy work for migrant kids, Valeria started a literacy program for girls in an upstate detention center and is currently working on a piece about mass incarceration and violence against women.
According to the foundation, the $625,000 grant helps recipients continue their work "for the benefit of human society," and if Valeria's work so far is any indication, that is exactly what she will do.