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

Octavio Romano

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sunday Press Spotlight: Texas Tech University Press

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Texas Tech University Press, started in 1971, publishes nonfiction titles in the areas of natural history and the natural sciences; eighteenth-century and Joseph Conrad studies; studies of modern Southeast Asia, particularly the Vietnam War; costume and textile history; Latin American literature and culture; and all aspects of the Great Plains and the American West, especially biography, history, sports history, memoir, and travel. In addition, the Press publishes five journals, one invited poetry manuscript annually, and occasionally a regional novel with national appeal.

They run the America Series which is "Contemporary fiction and nonfiction, cultivating cultural and intellectual explorations across borders and historical divides." This series has recently published Tim Z. Hernandez' latest book as well as Mexican novelist David Toscana.

Another series Tech runs is Modern Southeast Asia Series which focuses on Vietnam, Cambodia, and other South Asian countries.

Their website also contains a page called "So You Want to Be a Writer?" and has video segments of authors giving advice on writing. Among them is El Paso native Carlos Flores.

One thing that Texas Tech University Press has, and that I would recommend to other presses, is easy access to cover images of their books. Many times, media outlets, newsletter such as Libros, Libros: New Books in Chicano and Latino Letters (download now), and other outlets are trying to find images for books. 

For example, say I wanted to write something about David Toscana's new book The Last Reader. Right under the cover image on Tech Press' website is this:

"Media and bookstore representatives: download hi-res cover image (jpeg), press release (pdf), author headshot (jpeg), author signing poster (pdf), and promotional flyer (pdf) "

Presses, press marketing representatives, and press publicity people sometimes don't really how hard it is to get a "high resolution cover image" of one of their books. In fact, every press should make sure they have high-resolution images of all the covers of all their books. 

I'm sure one can email the publicity director for a cover image, but what is good about Tech Press is that this is already posted to their website along with the press release, the author mug, and promotional flyer. Neat! Oh, and if you post a cover to your website, make sure it is in "jpeg" format.

Click here for Texas Tech University Press submission guidelines .

The Last Reader

David Toscana
Translated by Asa Zatz
Mexican novelist David Toscana describes his narrative aesthetics as "realismo desquiciado" (unrestrained realism), breaking with the Latin trend of magic realism through a prose that keeps an eye on the concrete experience of life in all its absurdity and lavish strangeness. In its original Spanish El ultimo lector was awarded the National Colima Prize, the Premio Jose Fuentes Mares, and the Antonin Artaud Prize and was also shortlisted for Latin America's most important literary award, the Romulo Gallegos International Novel Prize.

Chango, the Biggest Badass (The Americas) [Hardcover]

The crowning achievement of Afro-Colombian author Manuel Zapata Olivella, Chango, el Gran Putas depicts the African American experience from an entirely different perspective--that of the gods who stand over the world and watch.

Ranging from Brazil to New England but centered in the Caribbean, where countless slaves once arrived from West Africa, Chango recounts scenes from four centuries of involuntary displacement and servitude of the muntu, the people. Through the voices of Benkos Biojo in Colombia, Henri Christophe in Haiti, Simon Boli­var in Venezuela, Jose Mari­a Morelos in Mexico, the Aleijadinho in Brazil, or Malcolm X in Harlem, Zapata Olivella conveys, in luminous verse and prose, the breadth of heroism, betrayal, and suffering common to the history of people of African descent in the Western hemisphere.

Unique to these narratives is the hovering presence of the Orichas, the African gods and messengers whose actions construct a worldview that defies Western logic. And within this pantheon stands Chango, the god of fire, war, and thunder who both curses the muntu for betraying their own kind and challenges them to liberate not only themselves but all of humanity. Chango, the Biggest Badass is a passionate tour de force that seeks to recuperate the values and wisdom of a people subjugated in the European colonizers' headlong rush toward empire, treasure, and modernity.

Readers and critics of postcolonial literatures will relish the opportunity to experience Zapata Olivella's masterpiece in English; students of world cultures will appreciate this extraordinary tapestry, woven from equal strands of myth and history.

Breathing, In Dust 

(The Americas Series)  


From poet and performance artist Tim Z. Hernandez comes a harrowing depiction of the drug abuse, poverty, and desperation that play out in the lives of a humble farming community in California's heartland -- a region known mostly for its agricultural wealth, and less for the stark contradictions overshadowed by its Golden State image.

cucaracha lives and campesino dreams; love tragically gone awry in the shadow of sweetly aromatic blossoms. Tlaloc's world is populated by wetbacks, tweekers, white trash--myriad nameless nobodies who live, love, and loathe, unseen by the other half. 

Even as he navigates his closest relationships with caution, Tlaloc seeks his escape in writing, crafting haunting portraits of those around him and narrating their struggles with brutal, graphic honesty.

Our House on Hueco

By Carlos Nicolás Flores

Ten-year-old Junior is thrilled and a bit nervous about moving from an El Paso barrio to the house his father has purchased in an Anglo part of town. His mother, who speaks only Spanish, is somewhat less thrilled, especially when she finds out the family will be living in the subterráneo — a dark, unfinished basement — until the white family renting the house above moves out.

As the ever-optimistic Pop works to improve his family’s situation by adding an apartment to the back of the house, Junior and his little brother make friends with Tim and Kim, the children living above them. But soon tensions erupt — between Junior’s mother and Tim and Kim’s parents, between Pop and co-workers at his new job, and between Tim and Boogie, Junior’s friend from the barrio — and these conflicts reshape Junior’s relationships with family and friends and threaten the new world his father is striving to create.

“This is truly an extraordinary story by a gifted writer.”—Rudolfo Anaya, author of Serafina’s Stories
Child of Many Rivers: Journeys to and from the Rio Grande

By Lucy Fischer-West
Foreword by Denise Chavez
  2005 Southwest Book Award * 2006 WILLA Literary Award FinalistThis title is winner of 2005 Southwest Book Award and 2006 WILLA Literary Award Finalist. Lucy Fischer-West knows the power of birthplace and of borders and rivers. Her memoir begins with the story of her parents, one reared in Germany, the other in Mexico, and how they found each other on the Texas-Mexico border. Fischer-Wests own journeys take her from her birth in the Hudson River Valley; to her upbringing on both sides of the Rio Grande; across the Atlantic to Scotland and then France; and, finally to India's River Ganges, halfway around the world from the El Paso barrio where she grew up. Hers is an ordinary life made extraordinary by its path and by the people who, having touched and enriched her life, stay with her, as nurturing to her spirit as the rivers that help her mark time. By focusing not on the conflicts of border life but rather on everyday experiences made rich by her appreciation of them, Fischer-West honors her rivers and the people who travel them, cross them, live on their banks, and bathe in their waters. Her story touches on the emotions that bind us to others: anger, sorrow, equanimity, exuberance, and serenity. 'A true child of the Rio Grande, Lucy Fischer-West is a woman at home in the world' - Joyce Gibson Roach. 'The clear voice of my paisana, Lucy Fischer-West, pleasurably transports me back to my native city, El Paso, Texas. The stories of her Mexican mother and German father, and her own international river-braided tales, enrich the complex literature of the border' - Pat Mora. 'When one reads Lucy Fischer-West's "Child of Many Rivers", one is not reading so much about the great rivers, vividly remembered, that have run through her rich and complex life and travels - the Rio Grande, the Hudson, the Clyde, the Ganges - but of the deeper currents that run through all our lives from their sacred sources: all the strong and generous women like the author and her mother, like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who work bone-hard through the most difficult poverty, heartbreak and tragedy, who nourish and nurture our souls, who feed us their rich stories and make our deserts bloom' - Lex Williford. The only child of a Mexican mother and a German father whose paths crossed in a Juarez bullring, Lucy Fischer-West teaches high school English in El Paso. 

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