Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez Returns to Berklee for Residency

Nick Balkin
September 16, 2010
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Photo provided by the artist

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez '92, best-selling author, two-time Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist, and Berklee educated saxophonist, presents a free public forum on Thursday, September 30, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., at Berklee's Recital Hall 1A, located at 1140 Boylston Street, in Boston. At the event, Valdes-Rodriguez will be interviewed by associate professor Julie Rold, read from her work, talk about her creative process, and share her unique perspective on the relationship and between music and words. It comes at the end of a three-day residency hosted by Berklee's Liberal Arts Department and sponsored by the Office of the President. 

"It is an honor to be able to come back to my alma mater, Berklee College of Music," says Valdes-Rodriguez. "I am very excited to be able to talk about how my music education has influenced my writing career, and the many ways music and literature intersect and inform one another. I love that the college understands that music can impact many other art forms, and vice versa, and am grateful they're letting me share my experience with others in this way."

After graduating from Berklee with a performance degree in 1992, Valdes-Rodriguez went back to school to earn a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She honed her writing chops as an award-winning staff writer for both the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times. A New York Times and USA Today best-selling writer, Valdes-Rodriguez has six published novels available. Her first novel, the critically acclaimed and wildly popular The Dirty Girls Social Club, is in development for a television series. Her seventh novel, The Three Kings: A Christmas Romance, comes out November 9, 2010, from St. Martin's Press.

Valdes-Rodriguez is the nation's first and most successful author of contemporary commercial women's fiction featuring Latina professionals. Time magazine dubbed her the "Godmother of chica lit," and named her one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States. Hispanic Business Magazine has twice named her among the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America. In 2006, the Hispanic Congressional Caucus awarded Valdes-Rodriguez with a Latina Leadership Award, and she participated in the National Book Festival at the Library of Congress. She also received the Theatre of Hearts/Youth First Award in Los Angeles in 2004. In 1998, she was named top essayist by the Sunday Magazine Editors Association. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where her mother's family has lived for eight generations, Valdes-Rodriguez is also the daughter of a Cuban exile father.

Berklee's liberal arts program emphasizes the interdisciplinary learning that artists and musicians need to succeed in today's world, especially writing and communication, and entrepreneurial, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. Liberal arts courses provide a cultural context for the music being studied; relate music to other arts, politics, literature, and science; encourage in students an appreciation for diversity; and prepare students to make the complex ethical choices they will face throughout their lives.