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Texas State presents Border Writers / Escritores de la Frontera

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
March 26, 2013

Texas State University will host “Border Writers / Escritores de le Frontera: A Literary Symposium” Thursday, April 11 in the Wittliff Collections on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library.

The symposium will run 3:30-10 p.m., featuring a panel discussion and Q&A on border life and writing, readings from seven authors, book signings and a reception. The event is free and open to the public, with books available for purchase.

The symposium will illuminate the international scene only three hours from San Marcos and the Austin-San Antonio corridor—a landscape extremely relevant to students and the larger community but often unexplored. Featured will be seven writers who have fostered understanding and appreciation for the uniqueness of South Texas, which reflects overlapping Mexican and American cultures, and for both of these cultures in their own right as well.

Participants include authors National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award finalists, professional writers, respected academics and practicing lawyers. They come from across the U.S.—Washington, Los Angeles, New York, Kansas City, and the Rio Grande Valley—but all are connected to the borderlands. Expected topics range from immigration to religion to economic realities. The seven speakers scheduled to appear are Norma Cantú, Christine Granados, Reyna Grande, Domingo Martinez, Chuy Ramirez, Alberto Ramon and Sergio Troncoso.

Professor Norma Cantú received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&I at Laredo and Kingsville, respectively, and her doctorate from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She was a senior arts administrator with the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., and was acting chair of the Chicano Studies Research Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Cantú has published articles on a number or academic subjects as well as poetry and fiction. She has co-edited four books and edited a collection of testimonials by Chicana scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Her award-winning Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera chronicles her childhood experiences on the border. She edits the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Culture and Traditions book series at the Texas A&M University Press.

Reyna Grande’s first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains, (Atria, 2006), received a 2010 Latino Books Into Movies Award, a 2007 American Book Award and the 2006 El Premio Aztlán Literary Award. Her second novel, Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009), was critically acclaimed and received a 2010 International Latino Book Award. The Distance Between Us (Simon & Schuster, 2012), a memoir, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Christine Granados was born and raised in El Paso. Her collection of short stories, Brides and Sinners in El Chuco, was published in 2006 by the University of Arizona Press. She has been a Spur Award finalist and winner of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award from the Macondo Foundation. Christine’s fiction and nonfiction has appeared in the Evergreen Review, Callaloo, NPR’s Latino USA, Texas Observer, El Andar and others. Her work has been anthologized in several college textbooks and anthologies, including the Wittliff Collections’ Hecho en Tejas.

Domingo Martinez was born and raised in Brownsville. He was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award in non-fiction. His work has appeared in Epiphany and The New Republic, and in October 2011, he read an adaptation of “The Mimis” on This American Life.

Chuy Ramirez practices law in San Juan. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley and attended Pan American University and is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. There, he served as articles editor for the International Law Journal and published a note entitled, “Altering the Policy of Neglect of Undocumented Immigration from South of the Border,” Vol. 18 in 1983. Strawberry Fields is his first fictional work.

Alberto Ramon is a former social worker involved in the war on poverty and with programs for itinerant migrant children from South Texas. He is a criminal defense attorney and the author of the novels On Both Sides of the River and The Mystery of Lawlessness.

Sergio Troncoso was born in El Paso and now lives in New York City. He graduated from Harvard College, and studied international relations and philosophy at Yale University. He is the author of The Last Tortilla and Other Stories, Crossing Borders: Personal Essays, and the novels The Nature of Truth and From This Wicked Patch of Dust, which was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012 and won the Southwest Book Award. Troncoso was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Alumni Hall of Fame and the Texas Institute of Letters. He is a resident faculty member of the Yale Writers’ Conference.

Directions, parking information, and more details about this event are online at For additional information about the symposium, contact Jana Fornario at (706) 224-9867 or or Richard Santos at (210) 748-2332 or


This symposium is supported by a Global Odyssey Grant. Co-sponsors include both Kappa Delta Chi, a Latina sorority, and Omega Delta Phi, a multicultural fraternity, as well as Texas State’s English Department, College of Education, Modern Languages Department, College of Applied Arts, Center for the Study of the Southwest, Office of Equity and Access, History Department, College of Health Professions, College of Liberal Arts, and the Wittliff Collections.


From 3:30 to 5:15 p.m. there will be a panel discussion followed by an audience Q&A; from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. is a free hour with all attendees encouraged to enjoy the Wittliff Collections exhibitions; from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m. there will be a casual reception; from 6:45 to 9 p.m. the guest authors will give brief readings; at 9 p.m. the readings will be followed by an audience Q&A and a book signing with all of the authors.

3:30–5:15 p.m. Panel Discussion + Q&A
6:15–6:45 p.m. Casual Reception
6:45–9 p.m. Short Readings (seven authors)
9–10 p.m. Q&A + Book Signing