2018 Great Immigrants Recipient

Ruth Behar
Anthropologist and Writer
Born in:

“All of us have wounds or losses we have suffered, but it is possible to heal and find beauty in life again after a period of sorrow and hibernation,” anthropologist and author Ruth Behar said in an interview with “Brightly.” Behar’s work includes academic studies, as well as poetry, memoir and literary fiction. Her most recent book “Lucky Broken Girl,” winner of the 2018 Pura Belpre Award, is a young-adult novel based on her immigration from Cuba and a horrific car accident as a child that left her bedridden in a body cast for a long recovery. She calls herself “an anthropologist who specializes in homesickness,” and has authored  several nonfiction books about her travels in Spain, Mexico and Cuba, including “Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in Between Journeys” (2013), “An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba” (2007) and “The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology that Breaks Your Heart” (1996). The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, Behar became the first Latino woman to receive a MacArthur fellowship in 1988. She is a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan. Updated July 2018