The Premio Aztlán (for a work published in 2005) has been awarded to Denver writer Gene Guerin for his novel, Cottonwood Saints. A press release from the University of New Mexico Libraries said that this is Guerin's first book although he has written documentary film scripts.
Cottonwood Saints "chronicles the lives of a New Mexico woman, Margarita Juana Galvan, and her son Michael. The story, told through Michael's eyes, explores the challenges faced by an intelligent, independent-minded girl maturing in a man's world. Margarita's family is affected by the prominent events of the century -- the influenza pandemic of 1918, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the Great Depression, and World War II."
UNM Libraries carries on this award, first established by Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya, to encourage writers who are just beginning their writing careers. The premio has a $1000 cash award.
Camila Alire, dean of Univesity Libraries, commented: "We are excited to award Premio Aztlán to this interesting new voice. We join Rudy and Patricia in seeking out the best emerging Chicana/Chicano writers in the nation."
There appears to be a lot going on with this organization, which says this about itself:
"Chica Luna Productions is a non-profit organization that seeks to develop and support women of color who use popular media to engage social justice themes and are accountable to their communities. Founded in September 2001 by three working artists who gathered to produce progressive multi-media projects, Chica Luna has since grown to include members in both New York and Los Angeles, and has established a track record of partnering with like-minded individuals and organizations toward promoting socially conscious media by, about and for people of color."
Recent projects include a short film festival, the F-Word Project (described as a multi-media justice project), and launch parties for the publication of screenplays, novels, etc. Chica Luna has issued calls for submissions for one-act plays and an anthology on the theme of the celebration of women. Get the details from the website.
One of the founders of the organization, Sofía Quintero, recently published Divas Don't Yield (One World/Random House), "based on the award-winning screenplay Interstates, four friends drive from New York to San Francisco, each packing a little more baggage than she thought."
The last week in April will see the publication of the ninth collection of 100 Bullets stories (issues 59 - 67), entitled Strychnine Lives. These stories, written by Brian Azzarello with art work by Eduardo Risso, have been favorites of mine for years and it was way cool when I was asked to write an introduction to the most recent collection. I'm a fan and that's the way I wrote the intro. Try these violent tales of revenge and power - they can grow on you.
Also coming up soon (around Cinco de Mayo) is the publication of my short story No Hablo Inglés in the next issue of the online magazine Hardluck Stories. The theme for this issue is Borderland Noir - seemed like a natural for a story. Hope you like my piece - it's dark, gritty, and .. well, noir.
I was interviewed for the April issue of The Docket, the monthly magazine of the Denver Bar Association.The interview can be found here.
Finally, I wrote a foreword for the re-issue of Robert Greer's crime fiction novel, The Devil's Backbone, to be published by North Atlantic Books later this year. Robert is an interesting guy, as they say - doctor, researcher, rancher, publisher, writer, and so on. His books feature a black bail bondsman from Denver, C.J. Floyd and, in my opinion, they represent a new kind of Western Literature. I don't think you can go wrong with any of Robert's books - he's written at least six so far.