Fellow: Awarded 2012
Field of Study: European and Latin American Literature
Competition: US & Canada
William Luis is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Spanish at Vanderbilt University, where he has held a faculty appointment since 1991. He earned a B.A. from Binghamton University in 1971, an M.A. in Ibero-American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1973, a second M.A. from Cornell University in 1979, and a Ph.D. from the same institution in 1980. Luis has held teaching positions at Dartmouth College (1979–1988) and Binghamton University (1988–1991), and visiting positions at Washington University in St. Louis (1988) and Yale University (1998). Luis has published thirteen books and more than one hundred articles. His authored books include Literary Bondage: Slavery in Cuban Narrative (1990), Dance Between Two Cultures: Latino Caribbean Literature Written in the United States (1997), Culture and Customs of Cuba (2001), Lunes de Revolución: Literatura y cultura en los primeros años de la Revolución Cubana (2003), Juan Francisco Manzano: Autobiografía del esclavo poeta y otros escritos (2007), and Bibliografía y antología crítica de las vanguardias del Caribe: Cuba, Puerto Rico y República Dominicana (2010). Luis proposes to write the definitive book on the life and works of the Cuban slave poet Juan Francisco Manzano (1797–1854), the only slave in Latin America to author his autobiography at a time in which slaves were prohibited a formal education. Luis’ study will restore Manzano and other black writers to their rightful place in Cuban and Latin American literature and history. Also, Luis is editor of the Afro-Hispanic Review. Born and raised in New York City of a Chinese father and an Afro-Cuban mother, Luis is widely regarded as a leading authority on Latin American, Caribbean, Afro-Hispanic, and Latino U.S. literatures.