Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo Jan. 20

Cuban novelist to discuss U.S./Cuban relations

“December is a sad month, precious, blue-lit and dreamily silent. I was born in this month. And in this month, in a year not so distant as it now appears, I shall return to Cuba with a Nobel Prize in Literature, the first of the Cuban Nobels, which I will rub in the face of the dictatorship that we will still have in Cuba by that date, and of which prize money I will use unto my ruination to hasten our liberty.”

— Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, from “Last Christmas with Fidel Castro”

Does the recent decision by President Barack Obama to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba represent fresh opportunity? Or is it merely the latest chapter in a long, tortuous narrative of manipulation and misunderstanding?

On Tuesday, Jan. 20, Cuban novelist Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, who recently immigrated to the United States after years of clashing with the Castro regime, will explore the topic in a lecture at Washington University in St. Louis.

Titled “U.S.-Cuba: A New Era or a New Ire?”, the talk is free and open to the public and will begin at 6 p.m. in the Danforth University Center, Preservation Room 234.

Pardo Lazo’s visit is sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and the Latin American Studies program, both in Arts & Sciences, with additional support from the Office of the Provost.

The Danforth University Center is located at 6475 Forsyth Blvd. For more information, call 314-935-5175 or email esklodow@wustl.edu.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Born in Havana, Pardo Lazo is a columnist for Madrid’s Diario de Cuba, Sampsonia Way Magazine and El Nacional in Caracas. He also serves as webmaster of the photoblog Boring Home Utopics and the opinion blog Lunes de post-Revolución (available in English at orlandolunes.wordpress.com).

Pardo Lazo is the author of five narrative books, including “Boring Home,” which was censored by the Letras Cubanas publishing house in 2009. Following its subsequent release in Europe and South America, he has not been permitted to publish, study or work in Cuba. On three occasions, he was arrested and prevented from leaving the island but in 2013 finally was allowed to emigrate, in the wake of migratory reforms launched by the government of Raul Castro.

Since arriving in the United States, Pardo Lazo has released two books: “Cuba In Splinters,” an anthology of Cuban stories, published by O/R Books in New York; and the digital photobook “Abandoned Havana,” which explores the city through surreal, irony-laden photos and texts.