Luís Alberto Urrea

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Luís Alberto Urrea
Luis Alberto Urrea 2015.jpg
Luis Alberto Urrea at the 2015 Texas Book Festival.
Born 1955
Tijuana, Mexico
Occupation novelist, essayist
Genre poetry

Luis Alberto Urrea (born 1955 in Tijuana, Mexico) is a Mexican American poet, novelist, and essayist.


Urrea is the son of a Mexican father and an American mother. He attended the University of California, San Diego, earning an undergraduate degree in writing, and did his graduate studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

After serving as a relief worker in Tijuana, and a film extra and columnist-editor-cartoonist for several publications, Urrea moved to Boston where he taught expository writing and fiction workshops at Harvard University. He has also taught at Massachusetts Bay Community College, and the University of Colorado, and he was the writer in residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Urrea lives with his family in Naperville, Illinois, where he is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago.[1]

In two heavily researched historical novels, The Hummingbird's Daughter and Queen of America, Urrea tells the story of his great-aunt, Teresita Urrea, who was known as "The Saint of Cabora" and "The Mexican Joan of Arc".

The Devil's Highway is his 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert.

Urrea was a speaker at the 2008 Santa Barbara Writers Conference,[2] and the 2008 Banned Books Week Read-Out, Chicago.[3]


Urrea's first book, Across the Wire, was named a New York Times Notable Book and won the Christopher Award.

In 1994, he won the 1994 Colorado Book Award in poetry for The Fever of Being[4] as well as the Western States Book Award in poetry. He was also included in The 1996 Best American Poetry collection.

In 1999, Urrea won an American Book Award for his memoir, Nobody's Son: Notes from an American Life.

His book of short stories, Six Kinds of Sky, was named the 2002 small-press Book of the Year in fiction by the editors of ForeWord magazine.

In 2000, he was voted into the Latino Literature Hall of Fame following the publication of Vatos.

The Devil's Highway won the 2004 Lannan Literary Award,[5] the Border Regional Library Association's Southwest Book Award [6] and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and for the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. It was also optioned for a film by CDI Producciones. The book was adopted as the 2010 One Book for Sac State[7]

His short story "Amapola" won the Edgar Award in 2010 for best mystery short story. It can be found in the anthology Phoenix Noir.


Short Stories


External links[edit]