Ruth Behar was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to New York with her family when she was a child. She is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Among her honors, she is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University. Her books include The Presence of the Past in a Spanish Village, Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart.

In her recent books, An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys, she writes about her unending search for a sense of home. She is the editor of Bridges to Cuba, and co-editor of Women Writing Culture and The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World. Her documentary, Adio Kerida/Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey, has been shown in festivals around the world. As much a provocative scholar as a creative writer, Ruth is also known for her essays, poetry, and fiction. Her literary work can be found in Telling Stories: An Anthology for Writers; King David’s Harp: Autobiographical Essays by Jewish Latin American Writers; Burnt Sugar/Caña Quemada: Contemporary Cuban Poetry in English and Spanish; and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. Collections of her poems have published in Spanish and English bilingual editions with Ediciones Vigía, an artisanal press in Matanzas, Cuba.