Monday, February 18, 2013

Rigoberto González to receive Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award

It has just been announced that Rigoberto González is to receive a Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award at the Poets & Writers’ annual dinner, In Celebration of Writers, on Monday, March 18, 2013, in New York City. The other recipients are listed here.

Established in 1996, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Awards celebrate authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community. Nominations are solicited from past winners, other prominent writers, members of the publishing community, and Poets & Writers’ Board and staff. These nominations are reviewed and winners selected by a committee comprised of current and past members of the Board of Directors. Title of the award has been given to Barnes & Noble in appreciation of their extraordinary support of Poets & Writers.

Rigoberto González is an associate professor of English at Rutgers University - Newark. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose and is the editor of Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing. Next month, the University of Arizona Press will publish his book of essays, Red-Inked Retablos. He is the recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships and a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and winner of the American Book Award, The Poetry Center Book Award, and The Shelley Memorial Award of The Poetry Society of America. He is a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine and a member of the executive board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle.

He kindly agreed to answer a few questions for La Bloga regarding this honor.

DANIEL OLIVAS: The award is meant to celebrate authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community. How would you describe your particular role that resulted in this honor?

RIGOBERTO GONZÁLEZ: Well, the official citation in the press release is that I am receiving this honor “for championing Latina/o writers.” In the decade I wrote for The El Paso Times, I managed to write 206 book reviews, all Latina/o authors. This work opened other doors for me: editing the University of Arizona’s Camino del Sol anthology, and serving on the executive board of the National Book Critics Circle these last 6 years—two more years until my term ends! Through whatever opportunity presents itself to me, I make it a duty to put forth a Latina/o title that I believe has merit and warrants additional attention. It keeps me reading and expanding my respect for our cultured and creative community.

DO: How did you find out that you were one of the recipients? Were you surprised?

RG: I was actually on the road, just coming home from the Latino Poetry Now event in Minneapolis last October. I had just said my goodbyes to Kristin Naca and I was waiting for a cab at JFK when I received the call from Elliot Figman, the executive director of Poets & Writers Magazine. I had to agree to keep quiet until the official announcement was made this many months later. I was overwhelmed because I had attended this event a few times as a table host and I got to see Junot Diaz, Maxine Hong Kingston and Kwame Dawes receive the honor. Those are folks I admire immensely so I was thrilled to be in that distinguished company.

DO: Are you going to write an acceptance speech or simply let the spirit take you wherever it may?

RG: I’m still debating it. I think folks in the audience appreciate the extemporaneous approach. I have a few thoughts. For example, I plan to dedicate this award to my mentors and other veteran writers who did the same kind of work I’m doing now but outside of the line of sight of New York City. The fruits of their labors is evident in those of us who have moved forward in the writing profession, stepping through doors they kept opened.


Sergio Troncoso, most recently the author of From This Wicked Patch of Dust (University of Arizona Press) which won the Southwest Book Award, reviews Matt Méndez's new book, Twitching Heart (Floricanto Press), which he calls “an evocative collection of stories set in El Paso that challenges the reader to explore the dynamics of relationships, gender roles, politics and faith. The prose is simple but true, and the stories are suspenseful and often without easy conclusions, which encourage the reader to ponder the layers of meaning in Méndez’s prose.”

Ajay Singh, editor of Eagle Rock Patch, reviews and carefully analyzes Otto Santa Ana’s new book, Juan in a Hundred: The Representation of Latinos on Network News (University of Texas Press).

I just discovered a new blog called Literanista that was created by Valerie M. Russo who describes herself as a “native New Yorker born to Puerto Rican & Sicilian parents in Spanish Harlem’s El Barrio...[who] is a Social Media Strategist, a published poet/writer, has worked at Hachette Book Group, Aol, Thomson Reuters and scouts the web for multicultural literary news, tech trends, innovation, working on her debut novel & about a million other things.”  Check it out.

Valerie M. Russo,
editor of Literanista 

 My short-short story, “Mamá’s Advice,” appears today in the new online edition of the lovely literary journal, PANK.  This story will be included in my collection-in-progress tentatively titled, The King of Lighting Fixtures and Other Stories.  PANK is edited by the talented (and patient) Roxane Gay and M. Bartley Seigel.

All done! So, until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from mis compadres y comadres at La Bloga. And remember: ¡Lea un libro!


bloodmother said...

Love it! Checking out your ss on Pank.

Inspirational Sayings About Life said...

This is a great award to win! nice to hear!

Valerie M. Russo Evans said...

Thanks for the shout-out much appreciated!