Friday, June 10, 2005

Latinas, Sun, and Spain

Manuel Ramos

Tenth Anniversary of Latina Letters
The Fifth Sun
International Conference on Chicano Literature

Tenth Anniversary of Latina Letters
A schedule for the 10-Year Anniversary of Latina Letters has been posted on the Campus News site of St. Mary's University. Here it is:

PLACE: All events in San Antonio at St. Mary's University Center, Conference Room A, except a Saturday evening event which is at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.

COST: Professional educators, $60; students and public, $20.

SCHEDULE:* Thursday, July 14, 1 to 6 p.m. Conference registration and housing check-in.* Thursday, 7 p.m., Opening banquet. Reading by Sandra Cisneros. $25, Tickets: Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Book Store at (210) 351-7787. (Must be purchased by Friday, July 8).* Friday, July 15, 7 p.m. Readings by Pat Mora and Ana Menéndez (Loving Che).* Saturday, July 16, 7 p.m. Readings by Lorna Dee Cervantes and Alicia Gaspar de Alba. Screening of Lourdes Portillo's documentary film about the murders of young women in Juárez, Señoritas Extraviada / Missing Young Women, at the Guadalupe Theater, 1300 Guadalupe Street. Free and open to the public.

FROM THE DIRECTOR: In 2005 we celebrate 10 years of what critics have called "one of the nation's most important gatherings about literature by Hispanic women." This year, we will discuss and celebrate three decades of Latina Literature in the U.S. The "crossing over" of U.S. Latino/a literature into the awareness of the general American reader began in the 1980s with the publication of Sandra Cisneros' "The House on Mango Street" by Arte Público. The widespread popularity of "The House on Mango Street," led to its eventual publication by Random House, to the awarding of a MacArthur "Genius" fellowship to a Latina writer, and eventually to the acceptance of the significant Latina literary market by the mainstream publishing houses of New York.On its 10-year anniversary, Latina Letters applauds Sandra Cisneros for helping to open the gates of the mainstream for many Latina writers to follow. Also participating in Latina Letters is a voice of the '80s, poet Lorna Dee Cervantes who will read from her new work. For the decade of the '90s we celebrate Pat Mora, Chicana poet extraordinaire, who opened the mainstream doors to Latina children's literature. Representing the first decade of the 21st century are Alicia Gaspar de Alba and Cuban-American Ana Menéndez, two writers whose works explore both political and social issues in the form of fiction.Latina Letters will be a forum for issues of literature, art, identity, ethnicity and gender, continuing as it has from the beginning to focus awareness on these important issues.
Gwendolyn Díaz, Ph.D. Director, Latina Letters

The Fifth Sun - Mary Helen Lagasse
I mentioned a few months ago (March 11) that The Fifth Sun by Mary Helen Lagasse won the 2004 Patricia and Rudolfo Anaya Premio Atzlán. I had included her novel in a post about some of the best books of 2004. She recently sent a message and I wanted to make sure that her information got heard. Mary Helen says that the subject of her lecture when she received the Premio Atzlán was Breaking Barrio Images: A Voice From The Deep South. She commented that "Señor Anaya thought this a very good topic since, as he said, there are no other prize-winning Chicana writers from the Deep South--certainly not from New Orleans!" Her publisher, Curbstone Press, is a small house, publicity is scarce and Mary Helen worries that her book will fall between the cracks. To date The Fifth Sun has won three literary awards: The Miguel Marmol Latina First Fiction Award; the Rudolfo & Patricia Anaya Premio Atzlán for Best Debut Novel Written in English by a Latina, and most recently at the Book Expo, the Independent Publishers 2005 IPPY Award for Best Multicultural Fiction. Moreover, the book was cited as a Best Debut Novel of 2004 by the New Orleans Times Picayune (12/04), and has garnered a number of excellent reviews. The Fifth Sun appears destined to become a classic Chicano novel and Mary Helen Lagasse definitely a writer to watch. Now, if we can just help out the sales.

The Fifth Sun is the story of Mercedes, a young Mexican woman who leaves her village to work as a housemaid in New Orleans. This novel takes her through her adventures in New Orleans, her marriage, her struggle to raise her children, her deportation, and her attempt to re-cross the river and be reunited with her children. And the novel takes place during the Roaring Twenties and the Depression, unique time periods for stories about Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

International Conference on Chicano Literature
Here's something to plan for: The Research Institute for North American Studies (IUIEN) of the University of Alcala has announced that the Fifth International Conference on Chicano Literature is scheduled for April 19, 20 and 21, 2006, in Madrid. At least those are the dates on the Institute's website. Teresa Márquez of the University of New Mexico, a regular attendee at the conference, tells me that the conference will take place on May 22-25, 2006. If you are interested in receiving information about this conference or the previous conferences (Granada 1998, Vitoria 2000, Malaga 2002, Seville 2004), you can ask for it at the following address:

I think the boys from La Bloga should be special guests at this hoedown. Send us an invitation, air fare, and we will take care of the rest. A panel on Chicano Lit-Blogs? Simón, León.

1 comment:

msedano said...

new orleans chicana. how interesting. there's an historical novel, tina juarez' south wind come that places its characters, including benito juarez, in new orleans. i'll do my part for sales by ordering the book.

i'd considered reviving teresa marquez' wonderful news resource, CHICLE, even talked to her and got her OK to use the name. la bloga could easily be a chicle; rudyg and manuel were CHICLEros. Too bad we don't have an address list from CHICLE, maybe give those gente a heads up que aqui estamos y no nos vamos.

Madrid in April? I'll go. But someone has to talk to the cabezas at La Reina Sofia museo, where Guernica resides. They don't allow photos.