Alejandro Morales, a novelist and professor of Chicano/Latino studies at the University of California, Irvine, will receive this year's Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature at the Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival on September 29. The presentation will be at 3:15 p.m. at the Faulkner Gallery in the Santa Barbara Public Library.
The award is named in honor of Luis Leal, a professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UC Santa Barbara, who is internationally recognized as a leading scholar of Chicano and Latino literature. It is presented annually by UCSB, Santa Barbara City College, and the Santa Barbara Book Council.
Morales, considered one of the country's premier Latino writers of fiction, is the author of several biographical novels in which he tells the fictional story of a character's life using historical events. He has published a total of seven books, including his newest, "The Captain of All These Men of Death" (forthcoming from Bilingual Review Press). Among his other works are "Pequeña nación" (Editorial Orbis Press, 2005); "Waiting to Happen" (Chusma House Publications, 2001); "Barrio on the Edge" (Bilingual Press, 1997); "The Rag Doll Plagues" (Arte Publico Press, 1992); "Death of an Anglo" (Bilingual Review Press, 1988); "Reto en el paraíso" (Bilingual Review Press, 1983). His novels have been published both in the United States and Mexico.
"We are extremely pleased to honor Alejandro Morales this year because he is a true pioneer in Chicano literature and one of the most outstanding, powerful, and innovative writers on the Chicano experience," says Mario Garcia, professor of Chicana and Chicano studies and history at UCSB and the organizer of the annual Leal Award.
Previous recipients of the Leal Award include Helena Maria Viramontes, Oscar Hijuelos, Rudolfo Anaya, and Denise Chávez.