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February 14, 2002 - GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (February 14, 2002) Award-winning author Judith Ortiz Cofer will speak at the Aquinas College Contemporary Writers Series on Thursday, February 28, 7:30 p.m. in the Wege Student Center Ballroom. Cofer, Franklin Professor of English and the Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Georgia, was born in Puerto Rico but moved to New Jersey as a young child. Her works often explore the tensions that can arise in reconciling two different cultures. This event is free and the public is welcome.
Cofer has received numerous awards for her poems, essays and novels. A PEN/Martha Albrand Special Citation in non-fiction was awarded to her for Silent Dancing, also the Anisfield Wolf Book Award for The Latin Deli. She has received fellowships for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation for poetry. A collection of short stories, An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio, was named a Best Book of the Year, 1995-96 by the American Library Association. It was also awarded the first Pura Belpre medal by REFORMA of ALA in 1996.
Cofer is the 1998 recipient of the Christ-Janner Award in Creative Research from the University of Georgia. The Rockefeller Foundation awarded her a residency at Bellagio, Italy Conference Center in 1999. During the spring of 2001, she was Vanderbilt University's Gertrude and Harold S. Vanderbilt Visiting Writer in Residence.
Her work has been included in textbooks and anthologies including: The Norton Books of Women's Lives, The Norton Introduction to Literature The Heath Anthology of American Literature, The Pushcart Prize, and the O. Henry Prize Stories.