Julia Cooke, author of The Other Side of Paradise (Life in the New Cuba), in conversation with Maria Cabrera and Lizabel Mónica. Moderated by Tara FitzGerald.

Julia Cooke, author of The Other Side of Paradise, in conversation with Maria Cabrera and Lizabel Mónica. Moderated by Tara FitzGerald. 
 “This irresistible gander at Cuba today features the liveliest prose and the sharpest eye for detail. The contradictions and improvisatory adjustments within this strange society are brought home through a series of vital portraits by the author, Julia Cooke, whose sympathy never gets in the way of her search for the elusive truth.” —Phillip Lopate

“In a series of nimble profiles, Cooke expertly documents what is likely to be the last generation of the lost youth of Cuba—the teens of the transition, with all their contradictions, sorrows, and calluses. The Other Side of Paradise is a tear-through read, full of vitality and compassion.” —Deb Olin Unferth, author of Revolution

“With top-notch reporting and an eye for detail, Cooke dives deeply into post-Fidel Cuba to deliver an intimate, exuberant, poignant account of lives spent waiting for change.” —Elisabeth Eaves, author of Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents


Julia Cooke is a New York-based culture writer and journalist and the author of The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba (Seal Press, 2014). She has written about Cuba for the Virginia Quarterly Review,Condé Nast TravellerGuernica, and the Atlantic, among numerous other magazines and newspapers. Prior to living in New York, Cooke reported from Latin America for MonocleMetropolisGatopardo, and L.A. Weekly on issues as wide-ranging as the political causes of urban sprawl in Mexico, the economic roots of gentrification in Havana, and the trade routes of Cuba’s black market in food. She has written profiles of Mexico’s first (and, it must be said, only) sex-industry trade fair and the country’s foremost conceptual artist; her personal essays have appeared in Guernica, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Paris Review Daily. She teaches writing at the New School. 


Lizabel Mónica is the creator of “Cuba Fake News,” a website that features false news stories about Cuba that anyone can publish. Using her perspective as a multimedia artist, she coordinates Revista Desliz, an online cultural project. As an author, she has published introductions to books by Cuban poets and has edited the anthology of Cuban contemporary poetry Distintos modos de evitar a un poeta. Her most recent book of poems will be published this year by El Quirófano Ediciones, Ecuador.


María A. Cabrera Arús is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the New School for Social Research. In Cuba, she worked at ONDI, the National Bureau of Industrial Design, promotioning the discipline and researching the history of design in the country. Her PhD dissertation focuses on the politics of material culture in Cuban socialism during the 1970s and 1980s, and she has given presentations on the topic in the United States and abroad. María A. Cabrera Arús also runs the blog Cuba Material (cubamaterial.com), conceived in 2012 as an archive of objects and practices related to the material culture in Cuba, with a strong emphasis in the socialist period.

Event date: 

Friday, April 4, 2014 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

52 Prince St
10012-3309 New York