Storytelling with Intellectual Honesty

Acclaimed Chicana author, Graciela Limón is a native of Los Angeles. She is Professor Emeritus at Loyola Marymount University, where she taught Latino literature and served as Chair of the Department of Chicano Studies. Limón fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a published author in 1994 when Arte Público Press published her novel, In Search of Bernabé, a third-place winner of the University of California at Irvine’s Chicano/Latino Literary competition. The New York Times Book Review stated that Berbabé “leaves the reader with that special hunger that can be created only by a newly discovered writer. Ms. Limón’s prose is assured and engrossing.” Bernabé was named Notable Book of the Year for 1993 and, in 1994, it garnered the American Book Award. The novel was translated into Spanish in 1997 as En busca de Bernabé.

Limón’s first novel established her as a Chicana writer, and she has published an additional five books, two of which have been translated to Spanish: Day of the Moon (1999), Erased Faces (2001), the 2002 winner of the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, The Memories of Ana Calderón, (1994, 2001), Song of the Hummingbird, (1996), Left Alive (2005), El Día de la Luna (2004) and La canción del colibrí (2006), all published by Arte Público Press.

Limón asserts that there are two “growing” successes in her life: “I am a visiting professor as opposed to the fulltime professor that I used to be. Now I can do just simple, pure teaching, and I think I’m getting better each time. I consider this a true success because I love to teach. Teaching is a magical experience. The other thing is building on the success that came to me a few years ago: writing and getting my work published. I feel that my writing is reaching people— sometimes people say to me, ‘I read your book’ or ‘I saw your book in the bookstore,’ that is validation. These are the two areas that I consider growing successes. I think I’m on track.”

She is certainly on track, she recently published her sixth novel, Left Alive and the Spanish translation of her acclaimed Song of the Hummingbird will be released in 2006. What follows is an interview in which Limón details her writing process and responds to questions about the crafting of her characters. Learn More

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