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September 7, 2022: Richard Rodriguez discusses his book "Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez." Moderated by Paul Elie

On September 7, 2022, Richard Rodriguez joined American Purpose to discuss the 40th anniversary edition of his classic book, Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez. Moderated by Paul Elie.

Richard Rodriguez, a master of the personal essay, relates his story as the son of Mexican immigrants who began school in California knowing fifty words of English and later studied at the British Museum. “Mr. Rodriguez offers himself as an example of the long labor of change: its costs, about which he is movingly frank, its loneliness, but also its triumph,” (New York Times Book Review). The book was accompanied by some hostility because of his provocative positions on issues including affirmative action and bilingual education.

Rodriguez’s other books include Days of Obligation, Brown, and Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography.  They have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award. His television essays on American life for The PBS NewsHour received a Peabody Award in 1997. He was a longtime contributor to Harper’s Magazine and the Los Angeles Times.

Paul Elie is a senior fellow with Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the director of the American Pilgrimage Project.  He spent fifteen years as a senior editor with Farrar, Straus and Giroux in New York before joining Georgetown. His work mainly deals with how religious ideas are broadly expressed in literature, the arts, music, and culture.  He is the author of The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage, Reinventing Bach, and essays and articles for The Atlantic, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Commonweal.

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