"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Latino Literature - Daisy Zamora named 2006 Nicaraguan Writer of the Year

Daisy Zamora Named 2006 Nicaraguan Writer of the Year

Daisy Zamora was named 2006 Nicaraguan Writer of the Year (Escitora del Año) by the National Assembly of Nicaragua (Asamblea Nacional) in Managua.

Daisy Zamora is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Central American poetry. Her work is known for its uncompromising voice and a broad ranging subject matter that often dwells on the details of daily life while encompassing human rights, politics, revolution, feminist issues, art, history, and culture. She is the author of three widely read books of poetry in Spanish, and the editor of a popular anthology of Nicaraguan women poets.

Zamora became immersed in revolutionary activities during the 1970s when the decades-long struggle against the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua became intense and widespread. She was a combatant for the FSLN (National Sandinista Liberation Front), which she joined in 1973, and became the voice and program director for clandestine Radio Sandino during the final 1979 Sandinista offensive. During the revolution she experienced exile in Honduras, Panama, and Costa Rica. After the triumph of the revolution in July 1979, she became Vice Minister of Culture, working with the poet Ernesto Cardenal who served as Minister of Culture.

One we missed on Julio Cortazar

MOTHERS, LOVERS, AND OTHERS: The Short Stories of Julio Cortázar (SUNY Jan 2006 ISBN 0-7914-5956-X), CYNTHIA SCHMIDT-CRUZ. Description is as follows: “Provocative reappraisal of the portrayal of women in Julio Cortázar’s short stories. Using feminist revisions of psychoanalytic thought and cultural studies, Mothers, Lovers, and Others examines the pervasive role of the conception of the feminine in the short stories of Argentine writer Julio Cortázar (1914–1984). Contending that his obsession with the mother is the source of Cortázar’s uneasiness with femininity, Cynthia Schmidt-Cruz traces an evolution in his relationship to female space, from a convoluted and defensive posture to a more open and tolerant stance, paralleling his increasing political commitment. Schmidt-Cruz explores the role of gender in Cortázar’s quest to reconcile his divided allegiance to Argentina and France, and his denunciation of the atrocities of the Argentine military dictatorship.”

"Oh My God, It's Full of Stars" - Coming in 07: Rene Saldana, Jr.

Okay movies buffs, where's that above quote from?

Rene Saldana, Jr. will released The Whole Sky Full of Stars on Wendy Lamb Books in March 2007. The description is as follows: “Barry can punch anyone hard enough to make them see a whole sky full of stars, though that's not really his style. Barry and Alby have been friends since the first grade. They've always protected one another. When Barry's pop dies, times are tough and the only thing Barry has of value is his dad's 1964 Ford Galaxie. Meanwhile Alby's got himself into big trouble with a cardshark. So he hatches a plan to make money. To help out Barry, but also to help himself. The problem is, Barry could get hurt, and it just might cost Alby their friendship. How much can you ask of a friend?”

For those of you into law

Carlos R. Soltero released Latinos and American Law: Landmark Supreme Court Cases on the University of Texas Press in September (ISBN: 0292714114). Description is as follows: “ “Achieve justice and equal protection under the law, Latinos have turned to the U.S. court system to assert and defend their rights. Some of these cases have reached the United States Supreme Court, whose rulings over more than a century have both expanded and restricted the legal rights of Latinos, creating a complex terrain of power relations between the U.S. government and the country's now-largest ethnic minority.”

To map this legal landscape, Latinos and American Law examines fourteen landmark Supreme Court cases that have significantly affected Latino rights, from Botiller v. Dominguez in 1889 to Alexander v. Sandoval in 2001. Carlos Soltero organizes his study chronologically, looking at one or more decisions handed down by the Fuller Court (1888-1910), the Taft Court (1921-1930), the Warren Court (1953-1969), the Burger Court (1969-1986), and the Rehnquist Court (1986-2005).

“For each case, he opens with historical and legal background on the issues involved and then thoroughly discusses the opinion(s) rendered by the justices. He also offers an analysis of each decision's significance, as well as subsequent developments that have affected its impact. Through these case studies, Soltero demonstrates that in dealing with Latinos over issues such as education, the administration of criminal justice, voting rights, employment, and immigration, the Supreme Court has more often mirrored, rather than led, the attitudes and politics of the larger U.S. society.”

Rayo puts out another Allende book

Rayo, yet, puts out another Allende book: Ines del Alma Mia: Una Novela by Isabel Allende. Description is as follows: “Nacida en España, y proveniente de una familia pobre, Inés Suárez sobrevive a diario trabajando como costurera. Es el siglo dieciséis, y la conquista de América está apenas comenzando. Cuando un día el esposo de Inés desaparece rumbo al Nuevo Mundo, ella aprovecha para partir en busca de él y escapar de la vida claustrofóbica que lleva en su tierra natal. Tras el accidentado viaje que la lleva hasta Perú, Inés se entera de que su esposo ha muerto en una batalla. Sin embargo, muy pronto da inicio a una apasionada relación amorosa con el hombre que cambiará su vida por completo: Pedro de Validivia, el valiente héroe de guerra y mariscal de Francisco Pizarro.

Valdivia sueña con triunfar donde otros españoles han fracasado, llevando a cabo la conquista de Chile. Aunque se dice que en aquellas tierras no hay oro y que los guerreros son feroces, esto inspira a Valdivia aun más ya que lo que busca es el honor y la gloria. Juntos, los dos amantes fundarán la ciudad de Santiago y librarán una guerra sangrienta contra los indígenas chilenos en una lucha que cambiará sus vidas para siempre.

Basada en una investigación meticulosa, y contada con la pasión y el extraordinario talento narrativo de Isabel Allende, Inés del Alma Mía es una obra de impresionante magnitud.”

Javier Valdez and people like us

Javier Valdes has released People Like Us: Short Stories on Atria. “Darkly comic and highly entertaining, Javier Valdés's stories insinuate themselves in the unsuspecting reader like a heady brew with a strange kick. From the exploits of an urban vigilante to the erotic pleasures exacted from an unrequited love, from a menacing treasure to a family that brings a whole new twist to the meaning of neighbors, People Like Us is seasoned with irreverent takes on Valdés's favorite writers and directors -- such as Stephen King and Martin Scorsese -- as he delivers a unique array of fascinating and hapless urban creatures.

Annecy Baez Wins 2007 Mármol Prize

Annecy Baez is the winner of the 2007 Miguel Mårmol Prize for her collection of short stories, My Daughter's Eyes and Other Stories. The contest awards a first book-length work of fiction in English by a Latina/o writer that reflects a respect for intercultural understanding and fosters an appreciation for human rights and civil liberties. The judge for this year's Mármol Prize was poet and novelist Benjamin A. Saenz, who has written 10 books of poetry and prose, most recently In Perfect Light (Harper Collins). He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Texas, El Paso.

My Daughter's Eyes and Other Stories is a collection of fourteen interrelated stories about young Dominican women living in the Bronx as they deal with the choices they make in their every day lives. Baez's daring treatment of taboo-themes such as sexual child abuse and the struggle of the individual against restrictive traditional values make this book unique among Dominican fiction.

Annecy Baez was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States when she was three years old. She was raised in the Bronx in New York City and currently lives in Westchester County, NY. A poet and fiction writer, her literary work has appeared in Caudal, a Dominican journal, Tertuliando/Hanging Out, a bilingual anthology, and Callaloo. A psychotherapist by training, she holds a doctoral degree in clinical social work. Presently, she is the Director of the Counseling Center at Lehman College.

My Daughter's Eyes and Other Stories will be published in July 2007.

Rigo reviews

Check out Rigoberto Gonzalez’ review of Come Together, Fall Apart" by Cristina Henríquez (Riverhead Books). The El Paso Times doesn’t keep their archives on as long as they use too and their website is not as good as it use to be, so catch it while you can.

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