Join us for an evening panel discussion by leading Mexican American writers, poets, and cultural critics to talk about the role and significance of Mexican American literature at a moment when the eyes of the nation are fixed on the border. It will be a night filled with taco truck rejoinders and reflections on the role of Latina/o writers.
Dagoberto Gilb is the author of Before the End, After the Beginning, The Flowers, Woodcuts of Women, Gritos, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña, and The Magic of Blood. He also edited the canonical Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature and Mexican American Literature: A Portable Anthology. He was a union, high-rise carpenter for almost two decades. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in a range of magazines regional and national, including The New Yorker, Harper's, and Zyzzyva, and anthologies such as The Best American Essays and The O’Henry Prize Stories, and are reprinted widely. Among his honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award. His work has been a finalist for both the PEN/Faulkner and National Book Critics Circle Award. Gilb is the executive director of CentroVictoria, a center for Mexican American literature and culture at the University of Houston-Victoria and is founding editor of the literary magazine Huizache. A native of Los Angeles, as many years in El Paso, he makes his home in Austin.
Dr. John Morán González is an Associate Professor of English and the Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. He attended Princeton University, graduating magna cum laude with an A.B. in English literature. He earned an M.A. degree and a Ph.D. in American literature, both from Stanford University. He is author of Border Renaissance: The Texas Centennial and the Emergence of Mexican American Literature and The Troubled Union: Expansionist Imperatives in Post-Reconstruction American Novels. He is editor of The Cambridge Companion to Latina/o American Literature, published by Cambridge University Press in 2016.
Emmy Pérez is a poet and the author of With the River on Our Face and Solstice. Originally from Santa Ana, California, she is a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Southern California and has lived on the Texas-Mexico border for the past 16 years. She is a recipient of a 2017 NEA poetry fellowship, and is a past recipient of a CantoMundo fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellowship, the Alfredo Cisneros De Moral Foundation Award, and others. She is an active member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop founded by Sandra Cisneros for socially engaged writers. Her poetry and lyric essays have been published in anthologies such as IMANIMAN: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands, Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art, A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line, and many other publications.Currently, she is an associate professor of creative writing and serves as interim director for the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at Arizona State University and the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Rez MFA program. She splits her time between the east coast and Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she works to revitalize the Mojave language.
Dr. Olivia Mena (moderator) is sociologist and cultural theorist who teaches in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. She has worked in the Latinx writing community for over a decade.