Friday, October 12, 2012

Southwest Meets Midwest

by guest-contributor Lucrecia Guerrero

Lucrecia Guerrero

            Saturday, October 13, 7:00 p.m. Melinda Palacio, award-winning writer and a regular contributor to La Bloga, will appear at the “Writing Out Loud” author series at the Michigan City Public Library in Michigan City, Indiana.    
This is the “Writing Out Loud” program’s twenty-eighth season and has, in the past, featured writers such as Frank Delaney, Joyce Carol Oates, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jane Hamilton, and Andrew Greeley. 
Robin Kohn, the library’s public relations and programming director, recently stated in The News Dispatch that she believes “each of the authors for this year’s program has demonstrated relevance to an area of public interest—including regional politics, history and current pop culture.”   Melinda’s novel Ocotillo Dreams, set in Chandler, Arizona during the migrant sweeps of 1997, fits nicely into Kohn’s description of this year’s lineup of authors. 
             It is certainly heartening to know that for the last two years, Kohn has included U.S. Latina writers.  This year Melinda Palacio presents, and last year I was one of the featured authors.  After an interview by Dr. Jane Rose, I introduced my novel Tree of Sighs, set in the Southwest and Midwest.  
This year, Robin invited me to interview Melinda Palacio before her presentation.  I eagerly accepted for I’m quite familiar with Melinda’s work and admire her writing, not only her prose but her poetry.
            Melinda’s Ocotillo Dreams and my Tree of Sighs were both published by ASU’s Bilingual Press in 2011, and that is how Melinda and I came to be acquainted.  Shortly after being introduced via email, Melinda invited me to join her at a reading at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, Colorado.  Our relationship as writer-supporting-writer and as personal friends has steadily grown. 
Lucrecia Guerrero and Melinda Palacio at the Tattered Cover
            For some of the audience at the Michigan City Library event, this may be their introduction to Melinda’s writing.  But I’m sure it won’t be the last that they hear from this talented author. 
Melinda holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley and an M.A. from UC Santa Cruz.  A 2007 Pen Center Emerging Voices Fellow, Melinda was more recently named a Top Ten New Latino Author of 2012 by Latino Stories.
 Melinda’s chapbook Folsom Lockdown won the Kulupi Press 2009 Sense of Place Award.  Ocotillo Dreams won the Mariposa Award for the Best First Book at the 14th Annual Latino Book Awards 2012 and a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award.  HowFire is a Story, Waiting a full-length book of poetry forthcoming from Tia Chucha Press, has garnered a blurb from none other than Juan Felipe Herrera, California’s Poet Laureate 2012.  He concludes an amazing quotation with these words:  “I don’t think there is anything like this book.  ¡Brilliantísima!” Need I say more?
Melinda always delivers a powerful reading, so her audience at the “Writing Out Loud” program will not be disappointed.  And during the interview I will ask Melinda  questions about Folsom Lockdown, OcotilloDreams, and How Fire Is a Story,Waiting, allowing the audience to learn more about her creative process   

Lucrecia Guerrero grew up on the U.S./Mexico border but has lived and taught in the Midwest for years.  She holds an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.  Her stories have been published in journals such as The Antioch Review.  Chasing Shadows, her collection of linked short stories was published by Chronicle Books in 2000.  Tree of Sighs, her debut novel, was published by Bilingual Press in 2011.  Tree of Sighs was awarded a Christopher Isherwood Foundation Award and the Premio Aztlán Literary Award.   


Sabrina Vourvoulias said...

After having met Melinda recently, I have to say I envy the midwestern readers who will be hearing her read. Both of you represent the wonderful richness of Latina writing in the U.S.

msedano said...

Welcome to La Bloga, Lucrecia! So great seeing your byline.