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June 16, 2009

Author Marie Arana Named Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress’ John W. Kluge Center

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has named Marie Arana a distinguished visiting scholar at the John W. Kluge Center, where she is pursuing research on Simón Bolívar, the famed liberator of Latin America from Spain.

Born in Peru, Arana moved to the United States at age nine. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Russian at Northwestern University, her master’s in linguistics at Hong Kong University and a certificate of scholarship at the Yale-in-China program.

From 1999 to 2008, Arana was editor-in-chief of Book World, the literary review section of the Washington Post. She is currently a writer-at-large for the Post. Prior to her Kluge Center appointment, she was a 2008-2009 invited research scholar at Brown University. Arana started her career in book publishing and served as vice president and senior editor at both Simon & Schuster and Harcourt Brace.

Arana has written several books. Her most recent volume is "Lima Nights," a novel published in January, 2009. She also wrote "Cellophane," a satirical novel set in the Peruvian Amazon, published in 2006, and a finalist for the John Sargent First Novel Prize. In 2001, she released a memoir about her bicultural childhood, "American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood," which was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award, as well as the PEN/Memoir Award. She has written introductions for many books, among them a National Geographic book of aerial photographs of South America, "Through the Eyes of the Condor," and a recently released book about Machu Picchu, "Stone Offerings."

Arana has served on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. For many years, she has directed literary events for the AmericArtes Festivals at the Kennedy Center. She has been a judge for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle. Her commentary has been published in USA Today, Civilization, Smithsonian Magazine, The National Geographic and numerous literary publications throughout the Americas.

Arana’s appointment at the Kluge Center will be effective through November, 2009.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit

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PR 09-121
ISSN 0731-3527

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