Ruth Behar was born in Havana, Cuba and grew up in New York City. Now residing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Ruth was the first Latina to receive a MacArthur Fellows “Genius” Award and is known for her ability to move seamlessly between anthropology and the arts in her writing, teaching, and public speaking. Her honors also include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University, and an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Ruth frequently visits and writes about her native Cuba and is the author of An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys. Her documentary, Adio Kerida/Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey, distributed by Women Make Movies, has been shown in festivals around the world. Ruth’s debut novel for middle grade readers, Lucky Broken Girl, published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, received the 2018 Pura Belpré Author Award from the American Library Association. This award is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. Ruth is also a poet and her bilingual book of poetry, Everything I Kept/Todo lo que guardé, with illustrations by Cuban book artist Rolando Estévez, has been published by Swan Isle Press.


For more information about Ruth’s academic work, visit:


To learn about her creative writing, visit: