Cuban-American Novelist & Poet National Book Award Finalist
"Cristina García's work is renewing American fiction." —The Nation
"Cristina García enchants us with...lyricism and humor and political engagement..." —Edwidge Danticat
Cristina García is the author of six novels: King of Cuba (Scribner, 2013), The Lady Matador’s Hotel, (Scribner, 2010); A Handbook to Luck (Knopf, 2007); Monkey Hunting (Knopf, 2003); The Agüero Sisters (Knopf, 1997), winner of the Janet Heidiger Kafka Prize; and Dreaming in Cuban (Knopf, 1992), finalist for the National Book Award. García has edited two anthologies, Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a Literature (2006) and Cubanísimo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature (2003). She is also the author of three works for young readers, Dreams of Significant Girls (2011), a young adult novel set in a Swiss boarding school in the 1970s; The Dog Who Loved the Moon, illustrated by Sebastia Serra, (Atheneum, 2008); and I Wanna Be Your Shoebox (Simon and Schuster, 2008). A collection of poetry, The Lesser Tragedy of Death (Akashic Books), was published in 2010.
García was born in Havana to a Guatemalan father and Cuban mother. In 1961, when she was two years old, her family was among the first wave of people to flee Cuba after Fidel Castro came to power. They settled in New York City where she was raised in Queens, Brooklyn Heights, and Manhattan, in predominantly Irish, Italian, and Jewish neighborhoods. Her family, however, communicated at home in Spanish and shared many stories about Cuba during her youth; and she says that she has always thought of herself as Cuban.
García was a reporter for the Knoxville Journal before she was hired in 1983 by Time Magazine. Beginning there as a reporter and researcher, she became the publication's San Francisco correspondent in 1985, and its bureau chief in Miami for Florida and the Caribbean region in 1987. In 1988 she was transferred to Los Angeles. She left Time to write fiction full-time in 1990.
NPR Review of King of Cuba
García holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Barnard College, and a Master's degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Her work has been nominated for a National Book Award and translated into 14 languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and an NEA grant, among others. García has been a Visiting Professor at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas-Austin and The University of Miami. She teaches part time at Texas Tech University and will serve as University Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos from 2012-14.
García is also the founder and artistic director of Las Dos Brujas Writers' Workshops. She divides her time between Texas and northern New Mexico.
About KING OF CUBA (Novel, 2013)
Told with wry wit and keen insight, this entertaining and richly satisfying story is about a fictionalized Fidel Castro and an octogenarian Cuban exile obsessed with seeking revenge against the dictator. El Comandante, an aging Castro-like dictator, shambles about his mansion in Havana, visits a dying friend, tortures hunger strikers in one of his prisons, and grapples with the stale end of his life that is as devoid of grandeur as his nearly sixty-year-old revolution. Across the waters in Florida, Goyo Herrera, a Miami exile in his eighties, plots revenge against his longtime enemy—the very same El Comandante—whom he blames for stealing his beloved, ruining his homeland, and taking his father’s life. Shifting between the two men with great resonance and humor, and peppered with the rabble of other Cuban voices that create a patchwork of history’s unofficial stories, García’s novel plumbs the passions and realities of these two Cubas—on the island, and off. Writing at the top of her form, García returns to the territory of her homeland and her bestselling novel Dreaming in Cuban.
About DREAMS OF SIGNIFICANT GIRLS (Young Adult, 2011)
Brought together each summer at a boarding school in Switzerland, three girls learn a lot more than just French and European culture. Shirin, an Iranian princess; Ingrid, a German-Canadian eccentric; and Vivien, a Cuban-Jewish New Yorker culinary phenom, are thrown into each other’s lives when they become roommates. This is a story of three paths slowly beginning to cross and merge as they spend the year apart, but the summers together. Through navigating the social-cultural shoals of the school, developing their adolescence, and learning the confusing and conflicting legacies of their families’ past, Shirin, Ingrid, and Vivien form an unbreakable bond. Like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, this story takes readers on a journey into the lives of very different girls and the bonds that keep them friends.
About THE LADY MATADOR’S HOTEL (Novel, 2010)
“The novel has the energy of an obsessive tango. Or, indeed, a bullfight.” —The New York Times Book Review
A dazzling, evocative novel about the intertwining lives of the denizens of a Latin American hotel in the midst of political turmoil...a fierce and gorgeous story about politics, gender, and passion. In an unnamed Central American capital, at a luxurious hotel, the lives of six men and women converge over the course of one week. There is a Japanese-Mexican-American matadora in town for a bull-fighting competition; an ex-guerilla now working as a waitress in the hotel coffee shop; a Korean manufacturer with an underage mistress ensconced in the honeymoon suite; an international adoption lawyer of German descent; a colonel who committed atrocities during his country’s long civil war; and a Cuban poet who has come with his American wife to adopt a local infant. With each day, their lives become further entangled resulting in the unexpected—the clash of histories and the pull of revenge and desire. Cristina García’s magnificent orchestration of politics, the intimacies of daily life, and the frailty of human nature unfolds in a powerful, ambitious, often comic, and unforgettable tale.
About THE LESSER TRAGEDY OF DEATH (Poetry, 2010)
"[A] brave and moving tribute to a brother gone astray; with skill, unflinching honesty, and redemptive compassion, Cristina García tracks his marvelous, complex, and errant life....These poems are the beautiful, painful, astonishing result of a journey to hell and back in search of the brother she loves. With this first book of poems, García, one of our best novelists and storytellers, proves herself to be a talented poet as well." —Julia Alvarez