Brando Skyhorse

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Brando Skyhorse
Brando skyhorse 3292.JPG
Born Echo Park, California
Nationality American
Alma mater Stanford University;
UC Irvine.
Notable awards Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction;
PEN/Hemingway Award

Brando Skyhorse is a Mexican-American author. He won the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award[1][2] and the 2011 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction for his novel The Madonnas of Echo Park.[3]


Skyhorse was born and raised in Echo Park, California and has degrees from Stanford University and from the MFA Writers' Workshop program at UC Irvine.[4]

Skyhorse shared the story of his complex ethnic identity development a 2014 feature,[5] and later in an episode of the Snap Judgment podcast (#807 Born Identity; posted on March 24, 2017). He indicated that his mother insisted throughout his childhood that both she and he were Native American, and portrayed herself as a passionate activist for Native American rights. However, she later admitted that this was not true: mother and son were in fact both Mexican-American. She had adopted a Native identity for herself after being abandoned by Skyhorse's father, partly because she "just don’t want to be another Mexican girl in [heavily Latino] Echo Park", and also to illustrate her belief that identity is a choice. Under his mother's domineering and sometimes frightening personality, Skyhorse did things such as refuse to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance to protest the treatment of Native Americans. Due to inconsistencies in her stories, Skyhorse suspected his mother was lying about Native American ancestry from his early teens, but she would respond to his questions with addition lies or fits of anger. He continued to claim a Native identity until her death in 1998, including on his college application to Stanford. He acknowledges feeling guilty and conflicted about this choice at the time and afterwards. Nonetheless, he also stated that at 18 years old it would have been impossible for him to contradict his mother on the question of identity. Skyhorse believes his story is an example of complexity of racial and ethnic identity in the United States, and illustrates the impact of adults upon the identity development of children.

He was a professional book editor prior to the success of Madonnas, which he wrote under the title Amexicans.[6][7] Skyhorse Publishing, where he worked as an editor, is named after him.[8]

As of February 2018, Skyhorse's personal website indicates he teaches English literature at Indiana University Bloomington.



  1. ^ "Brando Skyhorse getting PEN/Hemingway Award". Associated Press. 26 March 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^ North-Hager, Eddie (March 7, 2011). "Brando Skyhorse wins Hemingway Foundation/Pen Award for 'Madonnas of Echo Park' (+video interview)". Echo Park Online. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Interview with Brando Skyhorse". Simon & Schuster. Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ John Mackley (June 26, 2014) Brando Skyhorse: The Native American Who Wasn't,, accessed 20 Feb 2018
  6. ^ Neyfakh, Leon (April 16, 2009). "Free Press Bests Ecco, Twelve in Pursuit Of Short Stories by Former Grove Editor Brando Skyhorse". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  7. ^ McKenna, Alix (9 July 2010). "The Weight of Invisibility: A Chat with Novelist Brando Skyhorse". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Milliot, Jim (Sep 22, 2006). "Lyons Forms Skyhorse Publishing". Publishers Weekly. 253 (38). Retrieved January 11, 2012. 

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