Carlos Fuentes is writer whose work often deals with Mexican history. His most famous work is the novel "The Death of Artemio Cruz," and he's recently published a collection of short stories, "Burnt Water." Fuentes has worked as a diplomat, and is also a professor. He is known for his left-of-center politics and criticism of U. S. intervention in Latin America. He joins the show to describe his career, life, and Mexico.
South African poet and anti-apartheid activist Dennis Brutus was in part responsible for blocking his home country's athletes from participating in the Olympic games. After leaving the country to avoid political persecution, he now faces possible deportation from the United States.
The author has a new novel called Mosquito Coast, which he describes as a family adventure novel in the tradition of Treasure Island. In fiction and real life, he is interested in the impulse to leave one's home country, either as a traveler or an immigrant.
Hankus Netsky is the founder and leader of the Klezmer Conservatory Band. Klezmer mixes traditional Yiddish and Israeli music with American influences. Netsky joins the show to discuss the history of the genre and to share 78-records of klezmer music from the 1920s.
Writer Joan Didion. Known for her self-reflective essays and reporting, Didion is one of America's most important writers. Her books include A Book of Common Prayer, Slouching Toward Bethlehem and Salvador. With her husband John Gregory Dunne, she co-wrote the screenplay for "True Confessions." Her new book is titled Miami.
Writer Jan Novak. He has just published his second English novel, titled The Grand Life. His first was titled The Willys Dream Kit. Novak emigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia 17 years ago.
Novelist and translator Richard Lourie. His new novel is titled Zero Gravity and follows his successful debut First Loyalty. Lourie has been closely involved with the Russian and Polish underground intelligentsia and the emigre communities in America.
Walter Polovchak. Polovchak was a 12-year-old Ukrainian immigrant living with his family in Chicago, when he refused to return with them to the Soviet Union. His decision provoked a storm of controversy from his family and authorities in both countries and attracted worldwide media attention. The court battles continued for five years until Polovchak reached his 18th birthday in 1985 and was sworn in as an American citizen.
Language commentator Geoffrey Nunberg comments on recent activity at the federal level regarding bi-lingual education policies, and a proposed constitutional amendment to make English the nation's official language.
Jane Kramer regularly writes about the culture and politics on the continent. She says immigration -- and the xenophobic response to immigrants -- has played a big part in shaping Europe's changing identity.
Book critic John Leonard reviews Eva Hoffman's new memoir, Lost in Translation, about the writer's childhood in Eastern Europe and later move to North America. Leonard says the book deserves the same praise as other literary memoirs like Nabokov's Speak, Memory and Kingston's The Woman Warrior.
Writer Eva Hoffman moved with her family from Poland to the Canada when she was thirteen. Her new book about assimilating into the culture of her new country is called Lost in Translation. Hoffman is also an editor for the New York Times Book Review.
Writer, photographer and teacher MARGARET RANDALL. For 23 years, she lived throughout Latin and Central America, writing about the people, and in particular the lives of the women. She has published almost 50 books of poetry, prose and oral history. Since her return to the United States from an extended stay in Latin America, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has been trying to deport her. Randall and her supporters claim that is because Randall's writing is sharply critical of government policy in Central America.
Ronald Takaki. He's the grandson of Japanese immigrants and a professor of Ethnic Studies at Berkeley. His book, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans, tells the diverse stories of Asian immigrants who have come to the United States during the past century and a half. Takaki relates the personal testimonies of new immigrants and their American-born children.
Ellis Island reopens to the public soon. Commentator Maureen Corrigan shares her disappointment that she'll have to pay if she wants her grandparents' names inscribed on the new American Immigrant Wall of Honor.
Kindcaid's new novel, Lucy, is based on her own experience of leaving her home country for New York City. She says much of her work has been informed by her difficult but loving relationship with her mother, whom she sees infrequently.
Writer David Rieff (pronounced "reef"). his new book, "Los Angeles: Capital of the Third World," looks at how the millions of poor immigrants that have come to the Los Angeles area in the past two decades have changed the shape of that city...changing it from the "City of Dreams" that's long been L.A.'s popular image, to a much poorer, problem-ridden,and diverse, place. Rieff says something similar is in store for many other American cities. (The book's published by Simon and Schuster).