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Gustavo Perez Firmat

David Feinson Professor in Humanities, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University

A writer and scholar, Gustavo Pérez Firmat was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Miami, Florida. He attended Miami-Dade Community College, the University of Miami, and the University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature. He taught at Duke University from 1979 to 1999 and is currently the David Feinson Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. GPF is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Mellon Foundation. He is the author of many books of prose and poetry, including Bilingual Blues, The Havana Habit and Next Year in Cuba, a memoir of life at home and in exile. His study of Cuban American culture, Life on the Hyphen, was awarded the Eugene M. Kayden University Press National Book Award. His latest book, A Cuban in Mayberry: Looking Back at America’s Hometown, published in October 2014 by the University of Texas Press, is an affectionate look at the long-running sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show. In 1995, GPF was named Duke University Scholar/Teacher of the Year. In 1997 Newsweek included him among “100 Americans to watch for the 21st century” and Hispanic Business Magazine selected him as one of the “100 most influential Hispanics” in the United States. In 2004 he was named one of New York’s thirty “outstanding Latinos” by El Diario La Prensa. In 2005 he was selected Educator of the Year by the National Association of Cuban American Educators. GPF has been featured in the documentary CubaAmerican and in the 2013 PBS series Latino Americans. He divides his time between his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and New York City.


  • –present
    David Feinson Professor of Humanities, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University


Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2004