Author and former Miami Herald columnist Ana Menendez, who has been living in Amsterdam, is returning to South Florida for the Miami Book Fair International, the eight-day literary party beginning Nov. 13. Ana has a new book titled Adios, Happy Homeland and will be speaking about it during The Writer’s Voice panel at the fair Sunday, Nov. 20.
She describes her latest work of fiction as an “imagined anthology.” All the stories in the book relate to each other and deal with the idea of wanting to get away but later longing to return. The book is about flight and escape.
Living in the Netherlands has made her an exile of sorts. Dealing with language barriers and dislocation from her culture gave her a unique perspective from which to write Adios, Happy Homeland. Ana is also the author of the award-winning In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd, Loving Che and The Last War, which was chosen as one of the top 100 books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly.
She now lives in Maastricht, Amsterdam, where she is working with the local university to set up a creative writing program. Ana spent time in Egypt as a Fulbright Scholar. She says being in Cairo was a surreal experience, which helped her formulate many of the story ideas in her latest book.
Ana’s family knows about exile. Her parents left Cuba to come to the United States in 1964. They settled in Los Angeles and later moved to Tampa when she was two years old. As many Cubans do, they eventually settled in Miami about the time Ana started high school.
The Miami Book Fair International kicks off its 28th year Sunday, Nov. 13. Its popular street fair opens Friday, Nov. 18, and will feature more than 350 authors from around the world. More than 250 publishers and booksellers will sells literary works as well as collectibles.