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Writer Rudolfo Anaya to Receive 2004 Luis Leal Award Saturday

Monday, September 13, 2004 - 17:00
Santa Barbara, CA

Rudolfo Anaya, a New Mexican writer whose novels and stories depict the lives of contemporary Mexican-Americans in the Southwest, will receive the 2004 Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18 at the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival.

The award, given by the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival, in conjunction with Santa Barbara City College, will be presented to Anaya by Mario Garcia, a professor of history and Chicano studies at UCSB, and SBCC president John Romo.

The presentation will take place on the Family Stage in De la Guerra Plaza.

Anaya will answer questions about his writing and his career following the award ceremony.

The prize, which includes a $1,500 cash component, is named after Luis Leal, the distinguished writer, scholar, and UCSB professor. Leal, who will celebrate his 97th birthday on Friday, has spent much of his 60-year academic career bringing attention to Mexican, Latin American and Chicano writers.

Anaya was born in 1937 in Pastura, N.M.

He received a B.A. in education from the University of New Mexico, where he also earned master's degrees in English literature and guidance and counseling.

From 1974 to his retirement in 1993, Anaya was a professor in New Mexico's Department of Language and Literature. He continues to be affiliated with the university as an emeritus professor.

Anaya first caught the public eye with his 1972 first novel, "Bless Me, Ultima," which won the Premio Quinto Sol as the best work by a Chicano author. He followed that volume with the novels "Heart of Aztlan" in 1976 and "Tortuga" in 1979.

In 1992, Anaya published "Alburquerque," the story of a young boxer searching for his father, and was awarded the PEN Center West Award for Fiction.

Later in the 1990s, he wrote a series of mysteries centered on detective Sonny Baca, " Zia Summer," "Rio Grande Fall," and "Shaman Winter."

Anaya is also the author of several collections of short stories, poetry, nonfiction books, plays, and children's books. In 2002, he was awarded a National Medal of the Arts by President George W. Bush. Recipients of that award are honored for their major contributions to American arts and letters.

"Rudolfo Anaya is one of the major writers of the early days of the Chicano movement of the 1960s and early 70s," said Mario García, a professor of history and Chicano studies at UCSB and a board member of the Santa Barbara Book & Author festival.

"He's one of the major voices in Chicano literature. We are very pleased to have him accept this award.

Don Luis is very pleased."

The award was García's idea and was given for the first time last year to Oscar Hijuelos, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love" and other works.

Note to editors: Jpg photo of Rudolfo Anaya is available on request.

Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival
2003 Luis Leal Award Winner