Magical Realism, Immigration, and Life on the Border
Luis Alberto Urrea (“oo-Ray-ah”), 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph.
Born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea has published extensively in all the major genres and is currently published by Little, Brown and Company. The critically acclaimed author of 11 books, Urrea is an award-winning poet and essayist. The Devil’s Highway, his 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the 2004 Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. A national best-seller, The Devil’s Highway was also named a best book of the year by The Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Kansas City Star and many other publications.
Urrea’s first book, Across the Wire, was named a New York Times Notable Book and won the Christopher Award. Urrea also won a 1999 American Book Award for his memoir, Nobody’s Son: Notes from an American Life and in 2000, he was voted into the Latino Literature Hall of Fame following the publication of Vatos. His book of short stories, Six Kinds of Sky, was named the 2002 small-press Book of the Year in fiction by the editors of ForeWord magazine. He has also won a Western States Book Award in poetry for The Fever of Being and was in the 1996 Best American Poetry collection.
Urrea’s most recent book, Into the Beautiful North, was published in May 2009. The Hummingbird’s Daughter, publiised in 200, is the culmination of 20 years of research and writing. The historical novel tells the story of Teresa Urrea, sometimes known as The Saint of Cabora and the Mexican Joan of Arc.
Urrea attended the University of California at San Diego, earning an undergraduate degree in writing, and did his graduate studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. After serving as a relief worker in Tijuana and a film extra and columnist-editor-cartoonist for publications, Urrea moved to Boston where he taught expository writing and fiction workshops at Harvard. He also taught at Massachusetts Bay Community College and the University of Colorado and he was the writer in residence at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.