Friday, May 22, 2009

Gilb, Benedetti, Writing Contests, Valdez


La Bloga wishes Dagoberto Gilb a quick recovery - we were saddened to hear of his health issues but we understand that he is doing well and should be back writing soon, which is great news.

A family representative released this statement on May 11:

Dagoberto Gilb had a minor stroke on April 29. He is grateful for everybody's concern and well wishes, and is now privately recuperating in rehab. He will be released within a few weeks and is looking forward to resuming writing and working.

The award-winning writer's most recent novel is The Flowers (2008). Prior to that he edited Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature (2007). Gilb is a tenured professor in the creative writing program at Texas State University in San Marcos. You can find out much more about the writer on his website, click here.

Those of you who want to send your best wishes to Mr. Gilb can post a comment here on La Bloga and we will make sure he gets your messages.

I came across the following quote attributed to Dagoberto Gilb:

Write from the gut and soul. Spill it. Write from las alturas and from hoyos (avoid cheap, italicized, affected use of Spanish words). Don't offer excuses, explanations, apologies, apologias (the Latin). Remember Danny Santiago? His theme, his gimmick and hook, was being Chicano. Explaining, i.e., apologia lit. In other words, don't write for Them. Don't respond to their issues (if they ask about the gang problems in your community, ask them what they're doing about their biker and pedophile problems). Try to please God or the Virgin and not others (well, Others). But privately. As in silent prayer. They know you are flesh, know your tears of joy and pain. You will quit your day job; if you're a writer, you'll be fired often enough, anyway. If you want to be The Leader of the People, if you want to be a Saint, if you want to be The Guru, please don't pretend to be first of all a writer. Unless you're dead.
Notes on Lit from the Americas


From the Associated Press:

Mario Benedetti, a prolific Uruguayan writer whose novels and poems reflect the idiosyncrasies of Montevideo's middle class and a social commitment forged by years in exile from a military dictatorship, died Sunday, May 17, his secretary said. He was 88.

Benedetti died at his home in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, personal secretary Ariel Silva said. He had suffered from respiratory and intestinal problems for more than a year, and had been released from a hospital on May 6.

Called "Don Mario" by his friends, the mustachioed author penned more than 60 novels, poems, short stories and plays, winning honors including Bulgaria's Jristo Borev award for poetry and essays in 1985, and Amnesty International's Golden Flame in 1986. In 1999 he won the Queen Sofia prize for Iberoamerican poetry.

His writings on love, politics and life in Uruguay's capital were turned into popular songs and a movie, and his readings in his homeland attracted sold-out crowds.

Read more at this jump.

For a look at some of the world-wide reaction to Mr. Benedetti's death, click here. Or here. Or here.


Esquire made this recent announcement concerning its writing contest:

This contest is open to all, and the winning story will be published in a future issue of the magazine (as well as here, the new online home of Esquire fiction).

We encourage you to enter, but you have to follow the rules. The first and most important rule — besides, of course, that the story has to be original — is that the story must be based on one of three titles that we have provided.


Second rule: Your story cannot exceed 4,000 words. We are serious about that, too.

Other rules: You may submit only one story. The contest begins on May 1, 2009. All entries are due by midnight of August 1, 2009 and must be submitted electronically here at (Yet more official rules here.)

First prize: publication in Esquire and $2,500.

Simple. Pick your title and start writing. And don't disappoint us.


Because I had such a good time writing my half-dozen pieces for ficción rápida, my post last week, I've been thinking about sponsoring a flash (i.e., very short) fiction contest here on La Bloga. We can't offer $2,500 like Esquire, but we can get you published here on our blog. And I may come up with a signed book or two, from authors you will certainly recognize, as additional prizes. But the contest won't happen unless there is significant interest. So, if you like this idea post a comment and let me know. If we get enough interest, I'll have more details next week.

The man who has been called the father of Chicano theater will give a lecture at Cal Poly on May 22 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Phillips Hall at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center in Building 6, room 124, San Luis Obispo, CA.

Playwright, author and film director Luis Valdez will speak followed by a book signing from 8 to 10 p.m., said Gloria Velazquez, a Cal Poly professor of modern languages and literature. The event is free and open to the public.

Valdez founded his internationally renowned theater company, El Teatro Campesino (The Farm Workers’ Theater) in 1965 during the United Farm Workers struggle and the Great Delano Grape Strike in the Central Valley. His play Zoot Suit is considered a masterpiece of the American Theater as well as the first Chicano play on Broadway and the first Chicano major feature film, Velazquez said. For more information, e-mail

That's it -



msedano said...

Best wishes to Dagoberto Gilb for a swift and sure recovery. Illness like this can be a severe blow to a family, as well. Too the Gilb familia, whose support will play a central role in his recovery, I wish them strength and endurance. Un abrazo.

michael sedano

Daniel Olivas said...

Dagoberto, get well soon!

Oscar Bermeo said...

All best wishes to Dagoberto for a speedy recovery so that he can get back to writing more amazing books. Word.

Rich said...

Dagoberto Gilb at the Half-King NYC was an affair to remember for real. Most definitely, get well soon hermano! Keep leading the way.