Carla Trujillo

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Carla Trujillo
BornNew Mexico
Notable awardsLambda Literary Award for Anthology (1991)

Carla (Mari) Trujillo is an American fiction writer, noted for her first novel What Night Brings, about the cultural contradictions of a Chicana lesbian growing up in a Catholic home. She is an administrator at the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught courses in Women's Studies.

Early life[edit]

Trujillo was born in New Mexico, and lived there for several years before moving to Northern California. There, her grandmother ran a grocery store in the town of Las Vegas where Trujillo spent many days as a child playing.[1] Trujillo would later use these early memories as inspiration for her works such as Faith and Fat Chances and Dogtown which both carry messages about class struggle and the impact of gentrification. Her grandmother's store was eventually claimed as eminent domain and paved over to make way for a highway, which meant the loss of income she used to support her seven children.[1]

As an adult, Trujillo still prioritizes annual visits to New Mexico; in an interview about her book Faith and Fat Chances, Trujillo observed, “I feel very connected to the land, to the people and the spirit of the country...It’s always been a part of my life.[1]


Trujillo studied human development at the University of California, Davis. After earning her Bachelor's degree, she went on to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she earned her PhD in Education Psychology. It was during her time in graduate school that her writing became an integral part of her daily life. She eventually moved to Berkeley, California,[1] where she is currently an administrator at the University of California, Berkeley.[2][3] She has lectured on Ethnic Studies, both at U.C. Berkeley and also Mills College in Oakland, California.[4] She has also taught courses in Women's Studies at San Francisco State University. She is the former Director of the Graduate Diversity Program at U.C. Berkley.[4] In 2003, Trujillo authored her first novel entitled What Night Brings and published it with Curbstone Press. What Night Brings focuses on the Chicana lesbian character, Marci Cruz, and her upbringing in a conservative Catholic home in 1960s Northern California.[5] Through the fictionalized account of Cruz, Trujillo questions issues of patriarchy and homophobia within Chicana/o culture.[6]

Editorial Work[edit]

In 1991, Trujillo embarked on editing for Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About, an anthology of essays and articles by Chicana Lesbian writers. Her inspiration for editing Chicana Lesbians came from the work of other anthologies; Trujillo noted that reading Juanita Ramos's Compañeras: Latina Lesbians motivated her to expand upon the knowledge of Chicana Lesbian experiences. As she later explained, she "wanted to see more about the intricacies and specifics of lesbianism and our culture," for her this meant incorporating writings which discussed issues such as racism and familial rejection of identity.[7] Chicana Lesbians would later be awarded with the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Anthology.

In 1997, she edited and published Living Chicana Theory, a collection of works addressing Chicana subjectivity. The variety of works included in the anthology ranged from theoretical to more artistic forms of critique; some notable contributors included Teresa Córdova, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Antonia Castañeda. The anthology interrogates the presence of coloniality in the academy as well as Chicanx culture at large, and explores meanings of identity construction in Chicana lives.[8]



  • What Night Brings (2003)[10][11]
  • Faith and Fat Chances (2015)

As editor[edit]

  • Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About (1991)
  • Living Chicana Theory (1997)


  1. ^ a b c d Edge, Sami. "Author uses N.M. roots in tale about class struggles". The Santa Fe New Mexican. The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Carla (Mari) Trujillo". Contemporary Authors Online. 2005.
  3. ^ "Faith and Fat Chances: An Interview with Carla Trujillo". Los Angeles Review of Books. December 19, 2015. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  4. ^ a b Castro, Rafaela G. (2009). Nelson, Emmanuel S. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States. Carla Trujillo. Vol. 2. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Press. pp. 617–618. ISBN 9780313348631.
  5. ^ Sanchez, Casey (February 5, 2016). "Book Review: "Faith and Fat Chances" by Carla Trujillo". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  6. ^ Danielson, Marivel (2008). ""The Birdy and the Bees: Queer Chicana Girlhood in Carla Trujillo's "What Night Brings"". Chicana/Latina Studies. 7 (2): 56–95.
  7. ^ De Alba, Alicia Gaspar (1993). ""Tortellerismo":Work by Chicana Lesbians". Signs (4): 958. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  8. ^ Segura, Denise A. (2001). "Challenging the Chicano Text: Toward a More Inclusive Contemporary Causa". Signs. 26 (2): 545. doi:10.1086/495605. S2CID 145021721. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  9. ^ Team, Edit (1992-07-14). "4th Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  10. ^ "Fiction Book Review: WHAT NIGHT BRINGS by Carla Mari Trujillo, Author ". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  11. ^ Niewiadomska-Flis, Urszula (2014). ""A Kitchen of Her Own": Chicana Identity Negotiations Framed Through Foodways in Carla Trujillo's What Night Brings" (PDF). Polish Journal for American Studies. 7: 157–173. Retrieved May 18, 2017.