Jamie Figueroa on “Mother Island”

“The greatest way to honor another is with this intense complexity of truth, of love, of forgiving.”

In this episode of Writing Latinos, we talk with the widely published, award-winning author, Jamie Figueroa, about her new memoir, Mother Island: A Daughter Claims Puerto Rico, published by Pantheon. As a child growing up in Ohio, Figueroa experienced an othering that made her feel like she needed to recover centuries of family history shaped by colonialism and diaspora. It was a journey that took her to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she teaches creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and to Puerto Rico, where her mother was born. Along the way, she recognizes the similarities and differences that brought her closer to and pushed her away from her mom, especially when it came to universal themes like love, longing, family, and acculturation. Figueroa’s second book, Mother Island is both beautiful and moving, and ultimately it is a book that we can all relate to.








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Writing Latinos is a production of Public Books. The show’s host is Geraldo Cadava, co-editor-in-chief of the magazine, and show’s producer is Tasha Sandoval. Our theme music is “City of Mirrors” by Dos Santos.


Featured image: Jamie Figueroa © Sandra Dufton.