Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Orlando Hadassah brings Cuban author to town


Marisell Viega

The Orlando Chapter Hadassah presents "Lunch with Cuban-born author Marisella Veiga" on Tuesday, April 4, at Congregation Ohev Shalom at 11:30 a.m. She will present her book, "We Carry Our Homes With Us", a memoir of her flight from Cuba as a young girl and her integration into American life.

Veiga is a professional writer and college professor. Her work has appeared in both literary and commercial publications, including the Washington Post, Poets & Writers and Art in America. In 2004, Veiga was given the Evelyn La Pierre Award in Journalism by Empowered Women International. She is a nationally syndicated columnist with Hispanic Link News Service. She was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota; she now lives and writes in St. Augustine, Florida.

On Dec. 30, 1960, Veiga with her mother and two brothers boarded a plane from Havana to Miami. Her father fled a few months later, joining his family with a total of 14 U.S. cents in his pocket and an understanding that he would never see his homeland again.

Thanks largely to the sponsorship of a host family in St. Paul, the Veigas resettled in Minnesota, miles away from the Caribbean subtropics where the climate was similar to home, Spanish was spoken, and thousands of exiles arrived each month.

Veiga's stories are rich with detail and character as she describes her integration into a northern Midwestern landscape she grew to love, from adapting to the cold, learning to ice skate before learning to speak English to her obsession with Davy Jones. Yet, the weight of her biculturalism-being of two worlds but an outsider to both-has been central to her quest for identity.

In 2014, Veiga was awarded a residency at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, Minnesota. She wrote a basic draft about her formative years as a resettled Cuban refugee in the Twin Cities. "We Carry Our Homes with Us" is the result-published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press this past April.

Signed copies of Veiga's book will be available at the meeting. It is also available for download and in paperback at Amazon.com.

For reservations to "Lunch with Marisella Veiga," e-mail Nancyg357@yahoo.com or call 407-333-0204. Couvert is $12.


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