LUIS LEAL AWARD
Helena Maria Viramontes
Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature to be presented
Believed to be the first of its kind, the award has been
created by the University of California, Santa Barbara
and the Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival to
recognize an accomplished writer of the Chicano/Latino experience.
The award is in honor of Luis Leal, a professor of Chicano Studies at
UCSB and a pioneer in promoting the merit of Mexican, Chicano, and Latin
American literary and cultural traditions.
Born in East Los Angeles in 1954, her parents met while working the
fields as farm workers. Later, her father became a construction worker
and her mother was a housewife. She worked part-time while attending
Immaculate Heart College and earned her B.A. as one of only five Chicanas
in her class in 1975. She finished MFA in creative writing in 1994 at
the University of California, Irvine.
She is now a professor of English at Cornell
University and her short stories have been published in a variety
of literary journals. The major themes of her stories are informed by
her childhood experiences in East Los Angeles, and the impact of Cesar
Chavez and the United Farm Workers
on the life of her family.
are excited to be honoring Helena
award includes a $1,500 prize, a plaque, and coverage of expenses while
appearing at the festival.
the press release from UCSB on the Leal Award here.
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