Luis Alberto Urrea, 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, the Miami Herald, the Chicago Tribune, the 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. Luis Urrea also won a 1999 American Book Award for his memoir, Nobody’s Son: Notes from an American Life. Iin 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.
Luis Alberto Urrea’s most recent book, The Hummingbird’s Daughter, 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 several publications, Urrea moved to Boston where he taught expository writing and fiction workshops at Harvard. He has 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.
Urrea’s other titles include By the Lake of Sleeping Children, In Search of Snow, Ghost Sickness and Wandering Time. His writing has won an American Book Award, a Western States Book Award, a Colorado Center for the Book Award and a Christopher Award. The Devil’s Highway has been optioned for a film by CDI Producciones.
Urrea lives with his family in Naperville, IL, where he is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
National Public Radio, NPR, has featured Luis Alberto Urrea as well as his books on numerous shows. Here is a listing of the NPR shows featuring Luis Alberto Urrea, including an audio clip of Luis reading from his novel The Devil’s Highway.
Urrea has also been on an NPR show called This American Life. The episode “Garbage” follows Luis Urrea and his son down to a place in Mexico where he used to work. They visit a friend of his who lives in an area where people make their living from scavenging garbage piles.
Get a personal introduction on Luis Urrea’s blog.
Visit Luis Alberto Urrea’s website!
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