(1956 - living) Cuba - U.S.A.
Achy Obejas was born in Havana, Cuba, a city that she left in 1962 when she came to the United States with her parents after the Cuban revolution. She grew up in Michigan City, Indiana, and moved to Chicago in 1979. The Cuba of her imagination and experience recur throughout her writings.
An accomplished journalist, Obejas worked briefly for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1980-81 and then for the Chicago Reader. She has also written for The Windy City Times, The Advocate, High Performance, and The Village Voice. Her coverage of the Chicago mayoral elections earned her the 1998 Peter Lisagor Award for political reporting. She currently is a cultural writer for the Chicago Tribune, where she has worked since 1991.
Obejas poetry has appeared in a number of journals, including Conditions, Revista Chicano-Rique, and The Beloit Poetry Journal. In 1986, she received an NEA fellowship in poetry. Her short stories have also been widely published in journals and anthologies. Her novels include We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This? (1994) and Memory Mambo (1996), that won a Lambda Award, and her third novel, Days of Awe (2001), also won the 2002 Lambda Award for Lesbian Fiction.
Although she has lived in the Midwestern United States since she was six, Obejas has always identified with Cuba. She says in an interview:
I was born in Havana and that single event pretty much defined the rest of my life. In the U.S., I'm Cuban, Cuban-American, Latina by virtue of being Cuban, a Cuban journalist, a Cuban writer, somebody's Cuban lover, a Cuban dyke, a Cuban girl on a bus, a Cuban exploring Sephardic roots, always and endlessly Cuba. I'm more Cuban here than I am in Cuba, by sheer contrast and repetition.
As an activist and writer, Obejas continues to explore her Cuban identity and experience, earning her an important place in the literature of the United States.