Local Migrant Workers Inspire Award-Winning Author

Stories of migrant workers in Kennett Square found a voice in award-winning author Mark Lyons, who’s spent his life listening to voices that others don’t. Image via Chestnut Hill Local.

You might call him the migrant whisperer, because he hears voices that others don’t.

Specifically, author Mark Lyons has spent decades of his life listening to and giving a voice to Spanish-speaking migrant workers who seldom have a chance to speak for themselves.

“I live attuned to people’s voices,” said the award-winning author in a Chestnut Hill Local report by Constance Garcia-Barrio. “When I meet people, I listen for their tone, choice of words, and accent. Listening to someone’s voice is like listening to music.”

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Lyons’s work has won him 2003 and 2009 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and a Kirkus Reviews Book of the Year honor.

Among those prized works of art is the 2001-2004 oral history project of Kennett Square Mexican migrant farm workers that resulted in Espejos y Ventanas/Mirrors and Windows: Oral Histories of Mexican Farmworkers and Their Families.

“While spending eight years in farm worker camps, I heard many stories of people who took great risks to come to this country and ‘work like burros’ to create a better future for their families,” he said.

Read more about Mark Lyons’s work telling the stories of migrant workers in the Chestnut Hill Local here.

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