2018 Woodridge Award for Great Teaching

Carmen Fariña is most famous for her role from 2014-2018 as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, the largest school system in the country. But back when Jonathan and Mara Lethem knew her, they were fourth-grade students and she was just another remarkable teacher inspiring two future writers. It is for her work in the classroom that Ms. Fariña receives The Woodridge Award for Great Teachers.

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Jonathan Lethem is the author of eleven novels, including The Fortress of SolitudeChronic City, and the forthcoming The Feral Detective. He dedicated his first, Gun, with Occasional Music, to Carmen Fariña. His fifth novel, Motherless Brooklyn, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. His novels, stories, and essays have been translated into more than thirty languages. In 2005 he was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation. He lives in Los Angeles and Maine. You can read his reminiscence of Carmen Fariña here.

Mara Faye Lethem has translated novels by Jaume Cabré, David Trueba, Albert Sánchez Piñol, Javier Calvo, Patricio Pron, Marc Pastor, Toni Sala, and Alicia Kopf, among others. Her translations have appeared in Granta, The Paris Review, and McSweeney’s, and twice earned her English PEN Awards. She is a book reviewer for The New York Times and wrote the application that earned Barcelona designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.