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Famed Mexican Journalist and Author to Receive TAMIU Honorary Degree Posted: 11/05/15

Famed Mexican Journalist and Author to Receive TAMIU Honorary Degree



            Famed Mexican journalist and author Elena Poniatowska, long considered Mexico’s grande dame of letters, will receive an honorary doctorate in a presentation Monday, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. at Texas A&M international University’s TAMIU Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Theatre.

            The event is open to the public and will be presented in Spanish. It is hosted by the University’s Office of Global Initiatives.

            Acclaimed author Guadalupe Loaeza will conduct a rare interview with Poniatowska prior to the awarding of the Honoris Causa.

            TAMIU president Dr. Ray Keck said the University is excited to welcome Poniatowska to the campus.

            “Ms. Poniatowska visited our former campus many years ago and we are eager to welcome her back.  She has been an inspiration and role model for generations and the beauty and importance of her legendary writing is something in which we can all find relevance.  Our awarding of the honorary doctorate recognizes her many contributions to the world of letters, the world of the mind and the world of the heart,” Dr. Keck said.

            Born in France as the daughter of French-Polish immigrants to Mexico who had fled the Mexican Revolution, Poniatowska returned to Mexico at age 10 as her family escaped World War II.

            At 18 years of age and without the benefit of a university education, she began writing for the legendary newspaper, Excélsior. Initially confined to interviews and society columns, she transitioned to writing about social and political issues in newspapers and fiction and non-fiction books.

            Poniatowska is perhaps best known for her seminal book chronicling the repression of the 1968 student protests in Mexico City, “La Noche de Tlatelolco (The Night of Tlatelolco: Massacre in Mexico.)

            Her journalistic work has continued to be focused on the poor and their struggles, and on those resisting the power of Mexico’s one-party government as was common in Mexican life during the 20th Century. She has also continued to write about the plight of Mexico’s indigenous peoples.

            From 1954 to the present, Poniatowska has over 40 written works including short stories, essays, novels, children’s books and poetry.

            In 2011, she wrote Leonora, a historical novel on the surrealist painter Leonora Carrington and, in 2012, The Heart of the Artichoke (Tlapalería.)

            She is the recipient of numerous awards including the José Fuentes Marea National Prize for Literature, and  the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Women’s Media Foundation, in addition to the highest writing awards from both Colombia and Chile.

            In 2014, Poniatowska was awarded the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious literary prize in the Spanish language. For that ceremony, held in Madrid, she wore an indigenous dress given to her during a visit to Oaxaca.

          To learn more about Poniatowska, visit the Spanish language site

          For additional information, contact the TAMIU Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, email, click on or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, Suite 268.

          University news is also available on its social media sites on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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Introductory comments before the awarding of the Honoris Causa by:

Dr. Irma Cantú


Dr. José Cardona-López