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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Author Andrew Diaz Winkelmann, a 2022 graduate of Reinhardt’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, recently visited Dr. Maria Mackas’ Multicultural American Literature class to discuss his book, The Guava Tree. The class studied the novel, based on the courageous immigrant journey of Andrew’s Lebanese/Cuban grandmother. Speaking with students was a pleasure for Winkelmann, “The questions asked were interesting, which made the conversation profound and also fun. I love to talk about the craft of writing, and it excites me that such profound thinkers and writers are in the Reinhardt undergraduate program.”

This Cuban-American fictional novelist and businessman was born and raised in Atlanta. Family stories of their culture nourished his love for storytelling. At the age of six, he was writing and selling his short stories to employees at his family’s business. Inspired by his family history, he later wrote the short story, The Cuban Dream. Professor Gray Stewart, his mentor, encouraged developing it further, so Winkelmann read the story to his grandmother. Her tears and emotions were inspirational, and in 2022 The Guava Tree was published as his debut novel. He is currently writing a magical realism novel while working as EVP of Product Development & Region One Sales for Diaz Foods.

Winkelmann is passionate about uplifting the Latino community in the United States and was recently awarded 50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia 2023. He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of HoPe (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education), on the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, and the fundraising committee of Ser Familia. He credits his mentor, Professor Gray Stewart, with inspiring him to write the book, “Without the MFA program, I’m sure The Guava Tree would not have ended up in novel form. I also learned so many technical skills in the craft from dialogue to conflict to the heroic arc, and I highly recommend the program to anyone interested in the literary field.”