Friday, November 16, 2007

Alexie, Borrego, Gilb, Hinojosa-Smith, Serros - and René

Manuel Ramos


Congratulations to Sherman Alexie and his book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Little, Brown, 2007). Alexie won the National Book Award in the category of Young People's Literature. He has described his book as "highly autobiographical" and a blurb for the book says that the "heartbreaking yet funny story chronicles the adolescence of one contemporary Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he seems destined to live." A short interview of Alexie on the National Book Foundation website, conducted by Rita Williams-Garcia, offers some insight into the author's process and his intimate relationship with the characters in the book. During the interview Alexie says that his protagonist would think that "if one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one's chances of survival increase with each book one reads." Well-said, and well-done.

At the recent Texas Book Festival, Dagoberto Gilb and Rolando Hinojosa-Smith were presented with the 2007 Bookend Award. According to the Festival website, each Festival honors a Texas author with its Bookend Award in recognition of a lifetime of contributions to Texas literature. Former honorees include Sandra Cisneros, Mary Margaret Farabee, Larry L. King, Walt McDonald, T. R. Fehrenbach, Horton Foote, William H. Goetzmann, John Graves, A. C. Greene, Shelby Hearon, Elmer Kelton, Stanley Marcus, Cormac McCarthy, Américo Paredes, Louis Sachar, Edwin "Bud" Shrake, Texas Monthly magazine (publisher Mike Levy; editors William Broyles, Gregory Curtis, and Evan Smith), and Bill Wittliff. There's a damn good interview of Gilb and Hinojosa-Smith here at this link, which features an audio presentation. These two writers open up in the interview. They offer opinions about the past and future of Chicano Lit; the influence of other writers and their own impact on literature; how the world, as opposed to North America, views and appreciates what they write; and other subjects that should be of interest to La Bloga's readers. Congratulations to both gentlemen. Well-deserved. The interview was conducted by John M. Gonzalez for the Austin American-Statesman.

Looks like this is the week to mention online writer interviews. Michele Serros has one that you can find by clicking here. She talks about her latest book, ¡Scandalosa! ( Simon Pulse, 2007), as well as writing YA fiction with "serious themes"; compromising, rather than selling out, to meet editorial demands; her writing process; and the pros and cons of being compared to Sandra Cisneros. The interviewer is Marissa Landrigan for the V.C. Reporter. And check out Michele's website. It's so pink.

Film and television actor Jesse Borrego will reprise his lead role in Su Teatro’s production of Drive My Coche. The play was written by Roy Conboy (El Cucui Walks) and is directed by El Centro Su Teatro Artistic Director Anthony J. Garcia. It runs one weekend only: November 29 through December 1, 2007. Drive My Coche is a bittersweet drama about a Chicano reflecting on his first love, his tested friendships, and the joy and turmoil he experienced the summer before he shipped out to Vietnam. The production also features local actress Concetta Troskie, who recently appeared in the Aurora Fox production of Anna in the Tropics and can also be seen in Su Teatro’s touring productions Papi, Me and Cesar Chavez and Francisca y la Muerte. Borrego is best known, perhaps, for his four-year stint on the television series Fame. Borrego can be seen in the recurring role of Nurse Javier on NBC’s ER. As part of his visiting artist activities, Borrego will be a guest instructor for El Centro Su Teatro’s Cultural Arts Institute—the organization’s arts education program.

For more information about Drive My Coche, or to set up an interview, please contact John at (303) 296-0219 or

El Centro Su Teatro, 4725 High Street Denver, Colorado

The proceeds from this fund raiser will benefit El Centro Humanitario, a human-rights advocacy center for day laborers, and will help to open a new gathering place for day laborers in Aurora, CO. The mission of El Centro Humanitario is to "promote the rights and well-being of day laborers in Denver through education, job skills and leadership development, united action and advocacy." The tournament is set for December 7, starting at 6:00 P.M. Each player contributes $30, and the grand prize is one quarter of the proceeds.

El Centro Humanitario: 2260 California St. Denver, CO
Questions, or to RSVP: 303-292-4115

And last but certainly not least, I want to give a shout-out to one of my fellow blogueros - René Colato Laínez and his book, Playing Lotería (Northland Publishing, 2005) on recently winning the New Mexico Book Award for Best Children's Book. Congratulations René. You make us all proud, and each week here on La Bloga you give us the best in children's and young adult literature.
Way to go, señor.



Daniel A. Olivas said...

So many great honors for great writers! Fine post...gracias. More great news coming this Monday.

msedano said...

honors earned through blood, sweat, tears, and puro quality. and guggenheims? the reason i ask is i'm looking at the acknowledgments page of denis johnson's _tree of smoke_ listing the "kind assistance" of Lannan, Whiting, Guggenheim Foundations, plus, Rockefeller's Bellagio Center, the English Dpto @ Texas State San Marcos.

Lisa Alvarado said...

Such a broad range of authors and artists....Alexie, Borregos, and Serros being three of my favorites.

Manuel, your posts, like the other Blogueros, make me feel connected to what going on in your neck of the woods, even though I'm here in Chicago.