Literature

Karen Tei Yamashita

Posted January 16, 2015

Santa Cruz, CA


Writer Karen Tei Yamashita has published four novels and one collection of short stories, as well as non-fiction. Yamashita’s intensely researched novels reflect her interests in communities whose stories often go untold, such as Japanese Brazilian history in Brazil-Maru (1992) and a fictional history of the Asian American movement in I Hotel (2010), which won several awards and was as a finalist for the National Book Award. Her work has received several honors, including an American Book Award for Through the Arc of the Rain Forest (1990). 

 I Hotel, 2010; photo credit the artist

I Hotel, 2010; photo credit the artist

Charles Bowden

Posted January 16, 2015

Las Cruces, NM


Charles Bowden is a non-fiction writer and journalist. He received degrees from the University of Arizona and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Currently a freelance writer for several periodicals including Esquire, Harpers, Mother Jones, GQ, and National Geographic, Bowden was also a reporter for the Tucson Daily Citizen (1981–84), and the creator, editor, and co-publisher of Tucson’s City Magazine (1985–89). He has published a series of books about the ecology of the Southwest and several others about the secret war of drugs and the U.S./Mexico border, most recently Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields (2010). Bowden co-produced the documentary film, El Sicario Room 164, which played at the Venice Film Festival in 2010.

 El Sicario Room 164, 2010; photo credit the artist and Robofilms

El Sicario Room 164, 2010; photo credit the artist and Robofilms

Martin Espada

Posted January 16, 2015

Amherst, MA


Poet, essayist, translator, and editor Martín Espada has been called “the Latino poet of his generation.” After attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Northeastern University, Espada worked as a tenant and legal services lawyer for many years. The experience of representing “those without an opportunity to be heard” informs his writings, exemplified by Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100 (2002), a poem about the 43 immigrant food service workers killed on 9/11 while working at Windows on the World restaurant. Espada has published 13 books of poems, edited two poetry anthologies, and written three collections of essays. His book, The Republic of Poetry (2006), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, and he has received many other honors. He is Professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

 The Republic of Poetry, 2006; photo credit W. W. Norton

The Republic of Poetry, 2006; photo credit W. W. Norton

Brighde Mullins

Posted January 16, 2015

Los Angeles, CA


Brighde Mullins is a playwright and poet. She attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Yale University, and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Mullins’s plays have been produced in London, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, and her play, Fire Eater (2003), about the Irish potato famine, received the Pinter Review Gold Medal. Her 2003 chapbook of poems, Water Stories, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has directed the Masters in Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California since 2008.

 Fire Eater, 2003; photo credit the artist

Fire Eater, 2003; photo credit the artist

Susan Steinberg

Posted January 16, 2015

San Francisco, CA


Susan Steinberg is a short fiction writer. She attended the Maryland Institute College of Art and University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Steinberg originally studied painting, incorporating text in her work. She eventually concentrated on writing stories, experimenting with their formal structures, and has now published two collections of short stories. Her themes are often about gender issues, in particular gender performance. She has been Associate Professor of English at the University of San Francisco since 2002.

 Hydroplane, 2006; photo credit the artist

Hydroplane, 2006; photo credit the artist

Greg Tate

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


The Source magazine called cultural critic, journalist, and musician Greg Tate one of the “Godfathers of Hip-Hop Journalism” for his incisive views on the genre’s cultural implications. Formerly a staff writer at the Village Voice (1987–2005), Tate’s books include Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America (1992) and Everything But the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture (2003). In addition to publishing interviews with numerous luminaries such as Miles Davis, George Clinton, Cassandra Wilson, and Ornette Coleman, he has written one play, My Darlin Gremlin (produced 1993), and a science-fiction short film, Black Body Radiation (2006). He is also musical director of Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, a conducted-improvisation musical ensemble.

 Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America, 1992, photo credit the artist and Simon & Schuster

Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America, 1992, photo credit the artist and Simon & Schuster

Doug Wright

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Doug Wright is a celebrated playwright, screenwriter, and librettist. He attended Yale University and New York University. Wright has written three musicals (including Grey Gardens, produced 2006–07), eight plays, and one feature film. His best known play is I Am My Own Wife (produced in 2003–04), which won many honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony Award for Best Play, and Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play (all in 2004). He also wrote both the Obie Award-winning play Quills (1995) and the original screenplay for the 1999 film of the same name, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay, among other honors.

 I Am My Own Wife, 2003, actor Jefferson Mays; photo credit Joan Marcus

I Am My Own Wife, 2003, actor Jefferson Mays; photo credit Joan Marcus

Nilo Cruz

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Playwright Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer prize-winning play, Anna in the Tropics (2002), explores the hopes and dreams of a Cuban-American family when their lives are upended by the arrival of a Cuban lector, who reads Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to them as they work in their cigar factory. His other plays include Lorca in a Green Dress (2003), a fantasia on the life and legacy of Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca, and Two Sisters and a Piano (1996), inspired by the life of Cuban dissident writer Maria Elena Cruz Varela, who sent a manifesto to the Cuban government in support of Perestroika; Cruz’s play follows two sisters under house arrest in Cuba for writing a similar manifesto. He received an MFA from Brown University in 1994 and has taught at Brown, Yale School of Drama, and the University of Iowa. Cruz is also a recipient of a Steinberg Award, Kesselring Prize, and the Kennedy Center Award for New American Play. His plays offer compelling poetic considerations of Cuban, Latin American, Spanish, and U.S. Latina/o cultures.

 Anna in the Tropics, 2002; photo courtesy Adrian Jones

Anna in the Tropics, 2002; photo courtesy Adrian Jones

Gilbert Hernandez

Posted January 16, 2015

Las Vegas, NV


Gilbert Hernandez is a comic book artist and graphic novelist. He and his brother, Jaime, included in Time Magazine’s “Top 100 Next Wave Storytellers,” co-created the acclaimed comic book, Love and Rockets, which explores the contemporary contours of life in U.S. Latina/o culture. He went on to create numerous comic book series including Luba (1998) and Luba Comics and Stories (2000) as well as graphic novels such as Sloth (2006). His work provides a significant window into the complexities of life in the U.S. Latina/o community. Hernandez also wrote, directed, and starred in the television series, Naked Cosmos.

“Julio’s Day,” Love and Rockets, Volume 2; photo courtesy the artist

Antonya Nelson

Posted January 16, 2015

Las Cruces, NM


Antonya Nelson is a novelist and short-fiction writer. She received an MFA in 1986 from the University of Arizona. Her collections of short stories include Nothing Right (2009), Some Fun (2006), and Female Trouble (2002). Her story “The Lonely Doll” was awarded the Pushcart Prize (2003), and “Female Trouble” was given the O. Henry Award (2001), and her work has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories (1998) and The Scribner Anthology of Short Fiction (2007). Her work lays bare the specificity and intricacies of female desire, and she writes often about family life and the emotional life of women. She shares the Cullen Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Houston with her husband, novelist Robert Boswell.

 Nothing Right, 2009; photo courtesy the artist and Bloomsbury USA

Nothing Right, 2009; photo courtesy the artist and Bloomsbury USA