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Between the Poverty of Mexico and the Promise of El Otro Lado

Thursday, March 27, 2014
4:00 AM
3512 Haven Hall

with Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande, finalist for the National Critics Circle Book Award, for her memoir, The Distance Between Us, will read from and discuss her work, which chronicles the poverty of Mexico and the promise of "el otro lado" and offers an understanding of illegal immigration from a personal perspective. Her presentation will offer a different point of view in the immigration debate.

About Reyna Grande:

Born in Mexico, Reyna was two years old when her father left for the U.S. to find work. Her mother followed her father north two years later, leaving Reyna and her siblings behind in Mexico. In 1985, when Reyna was going on ten, she entered the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. She later went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college. 

After attending Pasadena City College for two years, Reyna obtained a B.A. in creative writing and film & video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She later received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. Now, in addition to being a published author, she is also an active promoter of Latino literature and is a sought-after speaker at high schools, colleges, and universities across the nation. Currently Reyna teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension and is at work on her next novel.

Reyna Grande is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. She has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards. Her works have been published internationally in countries such as Norway and South Korea.

Her novels Across a Hundred Mountains (Atria, 2006) and Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009) were published to critical acclaim and have been read widely in schools across the country. Her latest book, The Distance Between Us, was published in August 2012, by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. In this memoir, Reyna writes about her life before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States. A National Book Circle Critics Award finalist, The Distance Between Us is an inspirational coming-of-age story about the pursuit of a better life. The Los Angeles Times hailed it as ‘the Angela’s Ashes of the modern Mexican immigrant experience.”

Sponsored by Latina/o Studies, NCID, LACS, and the Department of Anthropology.

For more information, please contact Ruth Behar.