The Plascencia family eventually settled near Los Angeles in the city of El Monte when he was eight years old. Plascencia holds a B.A. in English from Whittier College and an MFA in fiction from Syracuse University. The recipient of a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Award in Fiction in 1996 and the Peter Neagoe Prize for Fiction in 2000. In 2001 he was awarded a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, its first fellow in fiction. He was awarded the Bard Fiction Prize from Bard College in 2008.
In its January 2010 issue, Poets & Writers named Plascencia one of the "Fifty Most Inspiring Living Authors in the World."
- Author's site[full citation needed]
- Nashville Review interview
- McSweeney's page
- Bookslut interview
- 3:AM review
- Hobart interview
- Online interview with author on Letras Latinas Oral History Project.