University of Rochester

EVENT: Neilly Series lecture by Oscar Hijuelos, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, on how life events inspire a writer

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, in Hubbell Auditorium on the University of Rochester's River Campus

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

September 30, 2003

Oscar Hijuelos, acclaimed 1990 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the international bestseller The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, will talk about the small and large details of life that inspire a writer at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, in Hubbell Auditorium on the University of Rochester's River Campus. The lecture, part of the yearlong Neilly Series, is free and open to the public.

Hijuelos will recount how his uncle, who played bass with 1930s bandleader Xavier Cugat, was the inspiration for Mambo Kings, and how other real people are developed as characters in his novels.

Hijuelos' latest novel, A Simple Habana Melody, returns to the musical themes of his Pulitzer Prize-winning work. It is set just after World War II, when the aging composer Israel Levis returns to his childhood home after tumultuous years in Europe.

The son of Cuban immigrants, Hijuelos grew up and was educated in New York City. Critics say his writing embraces themes of assimilation and identity, and love and loss with fresh, sensuous imagery and language. He has received the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Rome Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.

The yearlong Neilly Series is supported by a major gift from University alumnus Andrew H. Neilly and his wife, Janet Dayton Neilly. It is produced by the River Campus Libraries of the University of Rochester. For more information, contact (585) 275-4461.

Note to editors: A JPEG image of Oscar Hijuelos can be e-mailed to you. Please call (585) 275-4128 or send your request to