The UNM Department of English is celebrating the seventh annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest.
This year’s talk will be given by celebrated Chicano author Rigoberto González on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 6:30 PM in George Pearl Hall 101. González will be discussing masculinity in Chicano literature.
González has published 14 books including novels, poetry and multi-lingual children’s books, receiving numerous awards in the process.
González received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for his memoir “Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa.” His poetry compilation, “So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water Until It Breaks,” was a National Poetry Series selection. His recent collection of poetry, “Unpeopled Eden,” won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.
English professor Lisa Chavez, co-chair of the Anaya Lecture series, said the series was started in 2010 by Rudolfo Anaya who “wanted to give back to the UNM community.” The lecture has showcased some of the Southwest’s most prolific writers, including Denise Chavez in 2011, Anna Castillo in 2014 and Anne Hillerman in 2015.
Chavez said the lecture is a great way for the UNM community to support Chicano writers and young college students looking to pursue degrees in English. The event also helps raise money for UNM scholarships, she said.
“The talk in general has been important, because we are bringing writers who have been instrumental in the literature of the Southwest,” she said. “We have had people like Denise Chavez and Anna Castillo, along with many others who have been really instrumental in the way we look at the Southwest.”
Chavez said González’s lecture is going to be particularly significant.
“What’s important about Rigo is that he was born in Bakersfield and grew up in Mexico. His family worked as migrant laborers, and he has written about those experiences,” Chavez said, “He is also writing about what it means to be a gay man in a Chicano culture.”
González has been a “tireless” supporter of young Latino writers, and he is particularly interested in young voiceless authors and scholars. For years he was a book reviewer for the El Paso Times, writing the only column that was dedicated to Latino voices in the U.S.
“González is particularly interested in what is called ‘Latinx’ and breaking the binaries of gender construction,” Chavez said. “Some of the books he was reviewing were talking about that. It shows up in his own work, and we are really excited for his lecture.”
The Anaya Lecture series and Anaya Scholarship Fund is funded by Rudolfo Anaya and the UNM community. The scholarship fund is not yet up to endowment status, Chavez said.
“We are looking forward to start helping young English students who are interested in Chicano/Chicana literature,” she said.
The Anaya Lecture is free to the public, and there will be a reception after the lecture.
Donations for the Rudolfo and Patricia Scholarship Fund go to help young authors get an advanced education and can be made here. More information on donations will be given at the lecture.
Jonathan Natvig is a freelance news reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Natvig99.