Friday, April 13, 2012

Lucrecia Guerrero Wins Premio Aztlán

Melinda Palacio
Lucrecia Guerrero

Lucrecia Guerrero won the 2012 Premio Aztlán for her second book, Tree of Sighs.

The humble author from Indiana says she has mixed feelings about competition and awards for authors. “I don’t like to feel like I’m competing,” she said, “but there are people out there who aren’t willing to hear new writers. Winning the prize gives you more gravitas and credibility to your writing. It shouldn’t be that way, but that’s how it happens.” Guerrero considers herself lucky for having won the prize and is looking forward to traveling to Albuquerque to read at the National Latino Writers Conference, May 16-19, 2012.

While the Premio Aztlán Literary Prize and National Latino Writers Conference focus on Latino themes, Guerrero says she is grateful that the organization exists to help Latino authors. However, she looks forward to the day when having a prize, specifically for Latinos, is no longer necessary.

“People see Latino writing as foreign. We still need extra support from each other. I’ve been in writing groups where I am the only Latina. It takes a while to understand that our stories are about people. Latino writers from the US are American. You can see that in the writing.”

The Premio Aztlán Literary Prize isn’t the first award for Tree of Sighs (Bilingual Press 2011). The novel was also awarded the Christopher Isherwood book in progress award. Tree of Sighs may have more awards lined up in its future. The novel is also Guerrero’s second book. Her first book, Chasing Shadows (Chronical Books, 2000), was also highly acclaimed. She is currently working on a new collection of linked stories, which just might turn into a novel. She recently finished reading The Book of Want by La Bloga’s Daniel Olivas.

Lucrecia Guerrero will receive her prize at the National Latino Writers Conference May 17-19th, 2012. Faculty for the 10th anniversary conference includes Jimmy Santiago Baca, Kathryn Cordova, Cristina Garcia, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Vincent Gutierrez, Tim Hernandez, Nicolas Kanellos, Gary Keller, Demetria Martinez, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez and other. La Bloga’s Michael Sedano will be on hand offering free coaching for writers who want to spruce up their reading skills.

This weekend Poetry Month events abound:
In Los Angeles. PALABRA present Rigoberto Gonzalez who will be reading from his newest poetry volume, Black Blossoms, at The REDCAT lounge, Sunday April 15 at 2pm, 631 W. 2nd Street at Hope in the Disney Concert Hall Complex.

Over in Santa Barbara, Melinda Palacio will host Taxing Your Titanic, a celebration of poetry month by the Santa Barbara Sunday Poets at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, 21 W Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 at noon, free admission and reception.

Next Weekend: Festivals
The Los Angeles Times Festival, April 21-22, 2012 at USC. Tia Chucha Press will have a presence at the Smokin' Hot Indie Lit Lounge on Sunday from 11:45 to 1:30 pm.

The Border Book Festival, The Shamanic Journey in Mesilla, NM, April 20-April 22.

ART Event for Earth Day: Love Letter to the Earth
with art by Margaret Garcia
Opening Reception Sunday, April 22, 2012 5pm to 10pm
Closing reception, Friday May 25, 2012 6pm to 10pm.
KGB-Kolor Graphics Bureau/KGB Gallery
1640 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA

May 5, Santa Barbara Women's Literary Festival, authors include
Michele Serros, Susan Dunlap, Heidi Durrow, Candacy Taylor, Rebecca Tinsley, Karen Tei Yamashita, and Melinda Palacio.

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