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Marie Arana to Receive 2009 Northwestern Alumnae Award Oct. 22

October 21, 2009 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Marie Arana, a Washington Post editor, award-winning author and a former Northwestern Homecoming Queen, will receive the 2009 Alumnae of Northwestern Award.

The 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, award ceremony and the reception that follows in the McCormick Tribune Center, 1870 Campus Drive, on the University's Evanston campus, are free and open to the public.

Arana also will participate in the 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, Homecoming Parade along Sheridan Road from Chicago Avenue to Lincoln Street, and the half-time ceremony during the 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 Homecoming football game between the Northwestern Wildcats and Indiana University Hoosiers at Ryan Field, 1501 Central St.

Born in Lima, Peru, Arana moved with her family to the United States at age 9. She graduated from Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 1971. At Northwestern she received a bachelor's degree in Russian language and literature. She also has an M.A. degree in linguistics from Hong Kong University. Arana, who speaks five languages, including Mandarin, began her career in book publishing and was vice president and senior editor at both Harcourt Brace and Simon & Schuster.

For more than a decade, Arana was editor in chief of "Book World," the book review section of The Washington Post. In 2008, The Washingtonian magazine called her one of the most powerful people in Washington, D.C. Currently, she is writer at large for The Washington Post, and in April 2009 was named Kluge Distinguished Scholar at the Library of Congress.

Arana is the author of a memoir about a bicultural childhood "American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood" (finalist for the 2001 National Book Award as well as the PEN/Memoir Award); editor of a collection of Washington Post essays about the writer's craft, "The Writing Life"; and the author of "Cellophane," a satirical novel set in the Peruvian Amazon (published in 2006 and a finalist for the John Sargent Prize). Her most recent novel is "Lima Nights," published in January 2009 and set among the German Peruvians in Lima.

Arana has served on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. For many years, she has directed literary events for the AmericArtes Festival at the Kennedy Center. She has been a judge for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, as well as for the National Book Critics Circle.  She has written the introductions for many books, among them a National Geographic book of aerial photographs of South America, "Through the Eyes of the Condor."
The Alumnae Award has been given annually since 1976 to an outstanding alumna who has made significant contributions in her field and who has attained national recognition. Recent winners include Carole Browe Segal, Christine Brennan, Nancy Gustafson and Dr. Teresa K. Woodruff.

The Alumnae of Northwestern has served the University and the community through innovative projects and services since 1916.

For more information, contact: Elizabeth Murrill at e-murrill@northwestern.edu or Sandra Riggs or sandiriggs@northwestern.edu.
Topics: People