My thanks to Manuel Ramos over at La Bloga for putting what looks to be a great upcoming conference on our radar. I dug a little deeper and found the following:
THE LATINO LITERARY CULTURES PROJECT/
PROYECTO CULTURAS LITERARIAS LATINAS
University of California, Santa Cruz
The Latino Literary Cultures Project/ Proyecto culturas literarias latinas is an interdisciplinary initiative at UC Santa Cruz dedicated to studying and promoting creative writing by and about U.S. Latinas and Latinos, past and present. It stages a high-profile biennial conference that is innovatively structured to bring together writers with scholars and students, translators and reviewers, librarians and archivists, booksellers and publishers, along with a wide range of readerships.
By specifying “literary cultures” as its object, the Project recognizes the dynamic nature of twenty- first century literary experience. While many Latinos/as continue to read and write in the genres of short story, novel, and poetry, many others are focused on emergent forms such as blogs, performance work, graphic novels, memoir and testimonio. As our bilingual name indicates, Latino/a literature can be and has been written in Spanish, in English, or in multiple hybrid forms of English-Spanish. This linguistic fluidity underscores the global nature of contemporary Latino/a writing, and its translation and transmission into different national contexts. We actively try to recruit writers and scholars living outside the U.S.
There are precious few public spaces in the U.S. for publicizing, disseminating, and thinking critically about writing by Latinos. Although there are many thriving programs and departments in Latino Studies across the U.S., creative work is less visible in these institutional contexts than policy-oriented and quantitative research projects, in part because of greater funding opportunities in these areas. There is no single, regular conference or research center focusing on U.S. Latino literature from its historical orgins to the present day, and the LLC/CLL aims to step into that void.
The LLC/CLL aims to make Santa Cruz the international center of new thought and creative work in this area. Our region—broadly encompassing the Monterey Bay, San José/Silicon Valley, and the Salinas Valley—is the past, current and future home of a significant population of Latinos and Latinas, including a number of significant writers (Gloria Anzaldúa, Luis Valdez, Ernesto Galarza, Cherríe Moraga, to name a few). As a research unit of the Chicano/Latino Research Center—one of the pioneering universityresearch centers of this type—we are able to draw from a rich range of local expertise both on and off campus. Finally, by joining forces with UCSC’s Educational Partnerships Office, we will build new pathways between the university and local secondary school teachers and students.
Our first bilingual conference in November 2006, “Latino Literature/La Literatura Latina,” was rated a tremendous success by both our participants and our many attendees from the university and surrounding communities. Our featured speakers included the writers Francisco Goldman, Alfredo Véa, Reyna Grande, Tino Villanueva, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Susana Chávez-Silverman, Alicia Alarcón, and Nina Martinez; bookstore owners and small publishers Nicolás Kanellos, Brent Beltrán, Rueben Martínez; and scholars Manuel Martín-Rodriguez, Marisa Belasteguigoitia, Rosaura Sánchez, and Lucia Suárez. Our second conference in November 2008 promises to surpass this, and our new website (currently in the design phase) will both document and publicize the event.
Here is is the web site--CHECK IT OUT.
Among the writers slated to appear in this upcoming conference at UC Santa Cruz are Letras Latinas friends, Brenda Cárdenas and Roberto Tejada. Cárdenas' first full-length collection, Boomerang (with an Introduction by Juan Felipe Hererra) is slated to appear with Bilingual Press in early 2009 as part of CANTO COSAS which, as a series, should be lifting off in the next month or so with John Olivares Espinoza's The Date Fruit Elegies (with an Introduction by Christopher Buckley).
Roberto Tejada's first full-length book, Mirrors for Gold (Krupskaya, 2006) will be the subject of two reviews in Latino Poetry Review's delayed, but forthcoming second issue--speaking of which: yes, it is delayed and lamentably so. I accepted an appointment to serve on a literature panel for poetry for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) this last summer/early fall. It was a positive experience, but one whose work load, in essence, put a number of things on the backburner, first among them: issue 2 of LPR.
But the good news about LPR is that the issue is more or less complete. It has to undergo some formatting and light editing. The revised target release is early 2009. I say 2009 because I'll be at the Santa Fe Art Institute the month of November on a writing residency and will be trying to keep my day job activity minimal. During my time in New Mexico, Letras Latinas will be hosting a very special event, which I'll be saying more about in the coming days.
Anyone out there planning to be at UC Santa Cruz for the conference, or know anyone who is planning to attend? Letras Latinas Blog would love to hear about it.