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UCSB Reads 2017: The Author

Luis Urrea

Author Name Pronunciation

The author's "About Luis" section of his website states: Oh, and you pronounce it: oo-RAY-uh.

About the Author

Luis Alberto Urrea is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. In 2000, he was voted into the Latino Literature Hall of Fame. A 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Urrea is the critically acclaimed and best-selling author of 16 books, winning numerous awards for his poetry, fiction, and essays. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, Urrea is most recognized as a border writer, though he says, "I am more interested in bridges, not borders."

Into the Beautiful North, is a Big Read selection by the National Endowment of the Arts and has been selected by more than 30 different cities and colleges as a community read. It has also earned a citation of excellence from the American Library Association Rainbow's Project.

Urrea attended the University of California San Diego, earning an undergraduate degree in writing and continued graduate studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. After serving as a relief worker in Tijuana and a film extra and columnist, editor, and cartoonist for several publications, Urrea moved to Boston to teach expository writing and fiction workshops at Harvard. Urrea curently lives in Naperville, IL with his family, where he is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago. 

Interviews with the Author

NPR's Tell Me More, "Writer Explores Exodus of Mexicans to the U.S.," May 2009 (audio, 11 minutes, transcript available)

Writers & Books,"If All 2013: A Conversation with Luis Alberto Urrea," 2013 (text)

The Washington Post, "Beyond the Borders: Luis Alberto Urea, 'Into the Beautiful North,' at Politics & Prose," June 2010 (text)

NEA Big Read Author, "Interview with Luis Urrea" (audio, 26 minutes, transcript available)

KPBS, "Luis Alberto Urrea's New Work of Fiction: Into the Beautiful North," June 2009 (audio, 24 minutes, transcript available)

NPR's Talk of the Nation, "Author Chronicles Ever-Changing Life On The Border" June 2012 (audio, 17 minutes, transcript available)


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