Oscar Hijuelos (1951-2013), Pulitzer Prize winning author of “The Mambo Kings Sing Songs of Love,” and other novels, in conversation with Richard Wolinsky.
The interview was first aired August 18, 2011 following the publication of “Thoughts Without Cigarettes,” a memoir, and “Beautiful Maria of My Soul,” a sequel to “Mambo Kings.” Among his other novels were “A Simple Habana Melody (when the world was good)” and “Empress of the Splendid Season.”
Born in Manhattan to Cuban immigrant parents, Oscar’s family spoke only Spanish, but he became fluent in English during a childhood year in a convalescent hospital for nephritis. He studied writing under Donald Barthelme and Susan Sontag, and after a career in advertising, began writing short stories, and then novels. “The Mambo Kings” became a film and later a musical. Oscar Hijuelos died of a heart attack while playing tennis at the age of 62.