Mexican-Born Author To Speak About Border Life At NMSU

Mar 1, 2013

  Luis Alberto Urrea, an award-winning author, will present "Universal Border: From Tijuana to the World" at 7:30 p.m. March 6 at New Mexico State University's Atkinson Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public as part of NMSU's University Speaker Series.

"Luis Alberto Urrea is one of America's finest writers," said Bill Eamon, dean of NMSU's Honors College. "His ability to explore the human element behind tragic events and to tell the intimate stories of immigrants have won him much acclaim, and his stories will resonate with our local audience here on the U.S.-Mexico border."

Urrea was born in Tijuana, Mexico, to a Mexican father and an American mother. His family then moved to California where Urrea began to write. His early focus was on poems to "impress girls in junior high school." Later, he served as a relief worker where he saw people living in the Tijuana garbage dumps. Urrea says the border has defined his life and colored most of his writings. His public speaking engagements focus on his dual-culture life experiences, which explore the greater themes of love, loss and triumph.

He is the author of fourteen books. In 2009, he won an Edgar award for his mystery short story "Amapola." "The Devil's Highway," his 2004 nonfiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Collectively, his works have been chosen by more than thirty different cities and colleges across the country for community read programs.

Urrea earned an undergraduate degree in writing from the University of California at San Diego and did his graduate studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. In addition to his fellowship at Harvard, he has taught at Massachusetts Bay Community College, the University of Colorado and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

The University Speakers Series is sponsored by the Honors College, the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost. For more information, call 575-646-2005.