Author Reyna Grande to speak on immigration and the American dream on Nov. 4 and 5


Yoder Public Affairs Lecture: Author Reyna Grande, “Crossing Borders: Immigration and the American Dream”
Date and time: Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m.
Location: Goshen College Church-Chapel and Goshen College Umble Center
Cost: Free and open to the public

Award-winning novelist and memoirist Reyna Grande will present the 2014 Yoder Public Affairs lecture at Goshen College, titled “Crossing Borders: Immigration and the American Dream,” on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Goshen College Church-Chapel.

On Wednesday, Nov. 5, Grande will speak about her journey from an undocumented immigrant to a college graduate and successful author during a convocation at 10 a.m. in the Goshen College Umble Center.

Grande is the author of “The Distance Between Us” (Atria Books, 2012), which first-year students are studying as part of the Core curriculum at Goshen College. In this memoir, Grande writes about her life before and after she emigrated illegally from Mexico to the United States. A National Book Circle Critics Award finalist, “The Distance Between Us” is an inspirational coming-of-age story about the pursuit of a better life. She will speak with all first-year students about her book in a classroom presentation on Wednesday morning.

Grande has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards. Her works have been published internationally in countries such as Norway and South Korea.


Her other novels, “Across a Hundred Mountains” (Atria, 2006) and “Dancing with Butterflies” (Washington Square Press, 2009), were published to critical acclaim and have been read widely in schools across the country.

Born in Mexico, Reyna was two years old when her father left for the United States to find work. Her mother followed her father north two years later, leaving Reyna and her siblings behind in Mexico. In 1985, when Reyna was 10 years old, she entered the United States as an undocumented immigrant. She later went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.

After attending Pasadena City College for two years, Grande obtained a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, film and video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She later received her master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Antioch University. Grande currently teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension and is at work on her next novel.

The Frank and Betty Jo Yoder Public Affairs Lecture Series is an endowed lectureship that was created for Goshen College in 1978 by Frank (1917-1996) and Betty Jo Yoder of Goshen. The goal of the series is to enable faculty, students and community to hear well-known speakers address current issues.