Esmeralda Santiago is a highly acclaimed author. Her novel When I Was Puerto Rican was named one of the 15 essential books by Latino authors in America. So when she experienced a stroke eight years ago and found herself unable to read or write, the result was devastating.

Then Santiago realized that she had gone through this experience, in a way, before. When she moved to New York City from Puerto Rico, at 13 years old, she spoke no English. If she could learn a new language then, she would be able to learn again.

Santiago tells us how it felt when she experienced the stroke and how she was able to reclaim written language.

Photo via Robert Curtis/CANTOMEDIA

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