Monday, September 11, 2017

Book launch, cover art, meeting Eloy Torrez, and #LatinoHeritageMonth

As shown by the beautiful flyer that heads this post, my latest short-story collection, The King of Lighting Fixtures (University of Arizona Press), will officially enter this world on Mexican Independence Day at Other Books in Boyle Heights. And as I’ve also noted before, as a lifelong Angeleno who grew up in Koreatown and whose father lived in Boyle Heights for a portion of his childhood, the venue for the launch is particularly special.

The book launch is co-presented by The New Short Fiction Series which is run by the talented Sally Shore. In other words, actors (Alex Di Dio and Daniel Vasquez) will be reading a few selections from my collection, so this will make the evening that much more special. And the event is FREE! Visit the Facebook page for more information.

In November, I will be launching my debut poetry collection, Crossing the Border (Pact Press), which Melinda Palacio wrote about a couple of weeks ago in a thoughtful review. More on that birthday later.

So far, we’ve received two wonderful pre-publication reviews (click the links to read the entire reviews):

"Assured and perceptive, offering a view of another Southland from Chandler’s and Didion’s."

Olivas's "bold insistence on leaving a few seams visible, a few threads frayed—even on pulling the rug away entirely—makes the book resound as a fascinating exploration of both the art of storytelling and the ways in which fiction echoes the messiness of life."

As they say, you can't judge a book by its cover. But in this case, I wonder if that's true. Last Friday, I got to meet the great artist, Eloy Torrez, at the retrospective of his work that just started at Plaza de la Raza. The exhibition will run September 8 to October 21, 2017. Eloy’s wonderful painting ("El rey de la risa") adorns the cover of my book, so it was that much more special to meet him (and that painting) in person. We also got to meet his wife and documentary filmmaker, Juliane Backmann.

Daniel Olivas and Eloy Torrez

"El rey de risa" by Eloy Torrez adorns
the cover of "The King of Lighting Fixtures"

Eloy Torrez and Juliane Blackmann

And here is a small sampling of some of the remarkable art by Eloy Torrez that you will see when you visit this exhibition at Plaza de la Raza:

And finally, I want to thank the wonderful folks at the University of Arizona Press, my blurbers (Manuel Mu
ñoz, Susan Straight, and Ilan Stavans), the press’s hardworking Rose Brandt, mi familia, La Bloga, Other Books, and everyone else who helped get make this book a reality. For other updates, visit my website.

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