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Topic of the Week: Latino Literature November 9, 2009

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in fiction, Latino literature, literary fiction, multi-cultural fiction, weekly topics.
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No matter on which side of the border it’s produced, there’s no argument that Latino authors have produced some of the greatest works of literature in recent history. Despite its invasion by Europeans, Latin America maintains much of the cultural identity and heritage of its native peoples, providing a colorful tapestry for storytelling. Many Latino authors draw on that culture with remarkable stories of survival, conflict, love, mystery, spiritualism and humanity. Authors such as Carlos Castaneda, Isabel Allende, Laura Esquivel, Sandra Cisneros and Jorge Luis Borges brought Latino literature into the homes and hearts of readers worldwide. We’ll discuss these authors and other Latino authors on Monday and Wednesday during LitChat.


Luis Urrea

Luis Urrea joins us as guest host on Friday, November 13. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and an American mother, Luis grew up on both sides of the border. He compeled his undergrad work in writing at the University of California, San Diego, then went on to study writing at the graduate level at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Nominated for a Pulitzer for The Devil’s Highway, his 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, Luis has been widely published in literary journals and has 11 books in print.

Publisher’s Weekly said this about Luis’s recently released novel, Into the Beautiful North: “Urrea’s poetic sensibility and journalistic eye for detail in painting the Mexican landscape and sociological complexities create vivid, memorable scenes.”


Alan Cheuse of the Chicago Tribune said, “Awash in a subtle kind of satire… A funny and poignant impossible journey… Into the Beautiful North is a refreshing antidote to all the negativity¬†currently surrounding Mexico.”

After serving as a relief worker in Tijuana and a film extra and columnist-editor-cartoonist for several publications, Luis moved to Boston where he taught expository writing and fiction workshops at Harvard. He has also taught at Massachusetts Bay Community College and the University of Colorado and he was the writer in residence at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.


Books Are Great Gifts

Luis’ other titles include The Hummingbird’s Daughter, By the Lake of Sleeping Children, In Search of Snow, Ghost Sickness and Wandering Time. His writing has won an American Book Award, a Western States Book Award, a Colorado Center for the Book Award and a Christopher Award. The Devil’s Highway has been optioned for a film by CDI Producciones.

Luis lives with his family in Naperville, IL, where he is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Follow Luis on Twitter at: @Urrealism.