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Reading Groups

Creating a Nuyorican Identity: A Reading Group with Richie Narvaez


4 Sessions via Zoom

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4 Sessions Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT September 30, 2020 to January 6, 2021

Meeting Dates:
 9/30, 10/28, 12/2, 1/6

As a commonwealth, Puerto Rico has a strange, strained relationship with the U.S., and Nuyoricans (Puerto Ricans who were born or lived in New York) often struggle with their sense of identity because of that. In this reading group, we will discuss four coming-of-age narratives and how they grapple with the ideas of identity, home, assimilation, and colonization/decolonization.

  • Week 1: We’ll discuss the memoir Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas, an Afro-Latinx writer who was an important part of the Nuyorican literary movement of the 60s.
  • Week 2: We’ll discuss the influential memoir When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago, which chronicles her life in P.R. and her difficult adjustment to coming to New York.
  • Week 3: We’ll discuss the popular young adult novel The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera, which looks at the life of a second generation Nuyorican.
  • Week 4: We’ll discuss the novel We The Animals by Justin Torres, a lyrical story of three young half-Puerto Rican brothers and their dysfunctional upbringing.

This group will take place online via Zoom. Participants will receive instructions for access prior to the first session.


Led by

  • RichieNarvaezPhotobyErichWood1

    Richie Narvaez

    Richie Narvaez

    Richie Narvaez is the author of the award-winning anthology Roachkiller and Other Stories and the gentrification comic novel Hipster Death Rattle. He has served on the national board of Mystery Writers of America, as Bronx Council on the Arts Artist in Residence at the Morris Park Library, and as a judge for the 2019 PEN Open Book Awards. His latest book is the YA historical mystery Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco.