When the Miami Herald rehired novelist Ana Menendez as a columnist in 2005, a colleague greeted her grimly: Welcome back to newspapers. It's like joining the railroads in 1897.
That witticism turned into an omen; three years later, Menendez was laid off, but not before shed collected a devoted following of enemies by straying from the right-wing party line in Cuban-American circles. A Cuban-American herself, Menendez debuted nationally with In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd, a 2002 New York Times Notable Book. Her second tome had a more precarious title: Loving Che, about a woman who suspects shes the love child of Guevara. Not exactly a sentiment you want to have under your arm while strolling past the take-out counter at Versailles.
Post-Herald, Menendez took the risk of moving to Egypt in order to teach journalism at the American University in Cairo. The experience led to her latest novel, The Last War, rumored to be a semiautobiographical account of her rocky marriage to a Times war correspondent.
Thu., June 11, 8 p.m., 2009