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A Conversation with Ernesto Quiñonez

Last Wednesday, Allison Amend treated her English students to a class visit from renowned author Ernesto Quiñonez.

Amend begins the semester with Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams, a compelling spin-off of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, taking place in his hometown of Spanish Harlem.

Quiñonez starts with reading a short excerpt from chapter one, describing the protagonist’s best friend Sapo, who is actually based on a real person! Then, he allowed the students to questions while also telling us stories about his life.

He told us about the connection to himself and the main character Chino and his best friend (mainly in the beginning of the book). He claims that somewhere in the middle of writing, he recognized the resemblance to Fitzgerald’s novel and decided to steer his story in the same direction.

Being a native New Yorker and a CUNY City College graduate, he was able to connect with Amend;s students, leaving an everlasting impression of possibilities.

He then closed with the best piece of advice a prospective writer can ask for, “ always leave the reader wanting more,” and to write as much as possible.

Melanie H.


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