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North American Academy of the Spanish Language honors Nicolás Kanellos

Lifetime achievements of Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies recognized with 2014 Imbert Award

Nicolás Kanellos, Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies and director of Arte Público Press, is the 2014 recipient of the Enrique Anderson Imbert Award from the Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española (ANLE) or the North American Academy of the Spanish Language.

The honor recognizes the lifetime achievements of an individual who has contributed to the knowledge and dissemination of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture in the United States.

“It is a real privilege to honor Dr. Kanellos for his dedication and leadership in all aspects of study and advancement of language and culture, and for disseminating these to all corners of the earth, from Mexico to Japan,” said Carlos E. Paldao, secretary of the ANLE.

The award ceremony to bestow the honor on Dr. Kanellos will be held on June 7 at the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. during the Academy’s first conference in its 40-year history.

The North American Academy of the Spanish Language has its headquarters in New York City and is the youngest of the 22 member academies of the Association of Spanish Language Academies. The oldest, the Real Academia Española or Royal Spanish Academy, was founded in Madrid, Spain in 1713 and approved by King Philip V.

Kanellos directs Arte Público Press, the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors, and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project, which reconstitutes the literary and historical legacy of Hispanics in the U.S. from colonial times to 1960.

To date, the project’s recovered essays, autobiographies, historical and journalistic writings, novels, diaries and letters have been integrated into textbooks and curriculum from kindergarten to college. 

“In reality, this award recognizes the Spanish-language voices that have been hidden in U.S. archives for centuries,” Kanellos said. “The ongoing mission to recover this legacy is made possible by the hard-working teams at Arte Público Press and Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Heritage project.

“Receiving this award encourages us to continue the arduous task of recovering and making accessible our rich Hispanic heritage.”

In announcing its unanimous selection, the jury cited Kanellos’ body of work, which also includes the noted Hispanic literary journal The Americas Review (formerly Revista Chicano-Riqueña), of which he is the founder.

Additionally, his latest book, Hispanic Immigrant Literature: El Sueño del Retorno (2011), won the PEN Southwest Award for Non-Fiction.

For more information on the Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española (ANLE), visit

For more information on University of Houston Hispanic Studies

- By Marisa Ramirez