Author: Karla Cornejo Villavicencio and Jonathan Blitzer in conversation

The Undocumented Americans

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans, from the volunteers recruited for the 9/11 Ground Zero cleanup to the homeopathy botanicas of Miami that provide limited health care to non-citizen.


Cornejo Villavicencio is a writer from New York City whose work explores complex, stereotype-defying themes of migration, mental illness, beauty and intergenerational trauma.


A Harvard graduate and doctoral candidate in the American Studies program at Yale, she is the author of  The Undocumented Americans, a book of literary essays that draws from her own experience as a former, undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, to tell the intimate stories of undocumented immigrants living and working across the U.S. today. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and was selected as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, Time, NPR, The LA Times, The New York Public Library, Book Riot, Vulture and the Library Journal.


Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Vogue, Elle and other publications. As an Emerson Collective Senior Fellow, Karla is working on Dreamgirl, a forthcoming novel for young adults, and continues her non-fiction writing. To learn more about Karla, take a listen to NPR interview and the Immigration & Democracy podcast episode where she was featured along with author Marcelo Hernández Castillo.


Jonathan Blitzer is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He won a 2017 National Award for Education Reporting for American Studies,” a story about an underground school for undocumented immigrants. He has been a finalist three times for a Livingston Award, and is the recipient of an Edward R. Murrow Award as well as the 2018 Immigration Journalism Prize from the French-American Foundation. His writing and reporting have also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Atavist, Oxford American and The Nation. He is an Emerson Fellow at New America. 


Karla Cornejo Villavicencio - Instagram 

Johnathan Blitzer - Twitter






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