John Rechy

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John Rechy
Born John Francisco Rechy
(1931-03-10) March 10, 1931 (age 83)
El Paso, Texas
Occupation Novelist, essayist
Nationality American
Alma mater
Texas Western College
Period 1963–
Notable work(s) City of Night
The Sexual Outlaw
The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Rank Private

johnrechy.com

John Francisco Rechy (born March 10, 1931) is a Mexican American novelist, essayist, memoirist, dramatist and literary critic. In his novels he has written extensively about homosexual culture in Los Angeles and wider America, among other subject matters, and is among the pioneers of modern LGBT literature. His debut novel City of Night, published in 1963, was a best seller and is widely considered a seminal work among 20th century literature. Drawing on his own background, he has contributed to Chicano literature, notably with his novel The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez, which has been taught in several Chicano literature courses througout the United States.

Biography[edit]

Rechy was born March 10, 1931 in El Paso, Texas.[1][2][3] He was the youngest of five children born to Guadalupe (née Flores) and Roberto Sixto Rechy.[4] Both of Rechy's parents were natives of Mexico, his father was of Scottish lineage.[5][6][2]

He earned a B.A. in English from Texas Western College (now University of Texas at El Paso), where he served as editor of the college newspaper.[4]

Following graduation from college, Rechy enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was granted early release from the Army to enroll as a graduate student at Columbia University.[7] He applied for admission to a creative writing class taught by novelist Pearl S. Buck by submitting an unpublished novel he had written titled "Pablo!"[8] While his application to Buck's class was not accepted, Rechy was admitted into the writing classes of Hiram Haydn, a senior editor at Random House, at the New School for Social Research.[8]

Literary career[edit]

Rechy's first published work, the largely autobiographical novel City of Night, debuted in October 1963. Despite the predominately negative reviews the book received at the time of its publication, City of Night became a international bestseller. It is now widely recognized as a "modern classic"[4][9][10]

In addition to the dozen novels he written to date, Rechy has contributed numerous essays and literary reviews to various publications including The Nation, the The New York Review of Books, the Los Angeles Times, L. A. Weekly, The Village Voice, The New York Times, Evergreen Review and Saturday Review.[5][4] Many of these writings were anthologized in his 2004 publication Beneath the Skin. He has written three plays, Tigers Wild (first performed as The Fourth Angel and based on Rechy's novel of that title), Rushes (based on his novel of the same title), and Momma As She Became—Not As She Was, a one-act play.[4]

Rechy was cited, by journalist Amy Harmon, in a 2004 New York Times article that reported about a computer glitch on Amazon.com that suddenly revealed the identities of thousands of people who had anonymously posted book reviews. It was revealed that Rechy, among several other authors, had "pseudonymously written themselves five-star reviews, Amazon's highest rating" Amazon consequently stopped accepting anonymous reviews as a result of this finding.[11]

A biography, Outlaw: The Lives and Careers of John Rechy was written by Charles Casillo. A CD-ROM of his life and work was produced by the Annenberg Center of Communications and is titled: Mysteries and Desire: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy.[12]

Awards, honors and recognition[edit]

Rechy is the first novelist to receive PEN-USA-West's Lifetime Achievement Award (1997); he is the recipient of the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle (1999)[7][13][14] and an NEA fellow. He is a faculty member at the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California. He is the first recipient of ONE Magazine Culture Hero Award.[15]

Legacy[edit]

Writers Michael Cunningham,[16] Kate Braverman, Sandra Tsing Loh, and Gina Nahai were students of Rechy's creative writing classes before becoming published authors.[10]

Bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

Non-fiction[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "EL PASO COUNTY, TEXAS - BIRTHS 1931, N-R". USGenWeb Archives. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b White, Edmund (3 April 2008). "The Making of John Rechy". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Andrews-Katz, Eric (12 July 2013). "John Rechy: From bedsheets to printed sheets". Seattle Gay News. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Wood, Jamie Martinez (2007). Latino Writers and Journalists: A to Z of Latino Americans. Infobase Publishing. pp. 192–93. ISBN 9781438107851. 
  5. ^ a b Comtemporary Authors. New Revision Series. Volume 6. Gale Research Company. 1982. pp. 408–412. ISBN 0-8103-1935-7. 
  6. ^ Contemporary Authors. Autobiography Series. Volume 4. Gale Research Company. 1986. pp. 253–266. ISBN 0-8103-4503-X. 
  7. ^ a b Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series. Volume 188. Gale Research Company. 2009. pp. 352–357. ISBN 978-1-4144-5669-0. 
  8. ^ a b Barrios, Gregg (September 7, 1988). "Taming of the Sexual Outlaw : 25 Years After 'City of Night,' John Rechy Searches for a New Recognition With a Novel About Monroe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  9. ^ Seed, David (2010). A Companion to Twentieth-Century United States Fiction. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 155–56. ISBN 9781444310115. 
  10. ^ a b Timberg, Scott (April 5, 2000). "The Romantic Egotist". SF Weekly. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  11. ^ Harmon, Amy "Amazon Glitch Unmasks War of Reviewers", The New York Times, February 14, 2004. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  12. ^ Candelaria, Cordelia Chávez; Garcâia, Peter J.; Aldama, Arturo J. (2004). Encyclopedia of Latino popular culture. 2. M - Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 667–69. ISBN 9780313332111. 
  13. ^ "Awards". PublishingTriangle.org. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  14. ^ Warrick, Pamela (1997-10-26). "Credit Where It's Overdue; His writing began with controversy. Now John Rechy's life work is saluted". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  15. ^ "Culture Hero Award 2006—John Rechy". ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  16. ^ Nelson, Steffie (17 February 2008). "John Rechy's intensified reality". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]