Jose Antonio Vargas

We are thrilled to announce that we have booked Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas. Vargas’ debut memoir Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen (2018), begins in the Philippines on the morning he, at just 12-years-old, is awoken by his mother and hurriedly sent in a taxi to the airport where he then flies to the U.S. Once there, he is sent to live with his grandparents in Northern California. Unbeknownst to Vargas, he was relocated illegally, and at 16 years old he discovered he lacked the appropriate citizenship documents. Since that moment he has been interrogating one fundamental question: What does it mean to be an American?

Vargas won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for his contributions to three Washington Post articles about the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. He is also known for his coverage of the HIV epidemic in Washington D.C., which inspired the full-length documentary, The Other City, that he wrote and co-produced. Dear America is the most comprehensive follow-up to three works in particular: Vargas’s 2011 New York Times Magazine essay, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant”; his 2012 Time cover story, “Not Legal Not Leaving”; and his 2013 film, Documented. He is both a journalist and an activist who founded the nonprofit Define American, and Vargas notes that he’s often regarded as the “most famous undocumented immigrant in America.” Vargas’ Young Reader’s edition of Dear America will be available in March 2019.

Other 2019 Authors & Speakers