UTEP hosted the first local reading and book signing for Richard Yañez’s new novel Cross over Water. About a hundred people came out on Good Friday to hear him read and talk. He was joined by Júarez native Mari(a) Gomez, an MFA candidate in UTEP’s bilingual MFA.
El Paso has a strong literary heritage, especially among Chicano/a writers, and Yañez, co founder of Con Tinta, is quickly becoming one of its major voices.
He was introduced by Marcia Hatfield Daudistel, editor of Literary El Paso, a humongous anthology of El Paso writer’s such as Arturo Islas, Dagoberto Gilb, Tomás Rivera, Pat Mora, Ana Castillo, José Antonio Burciaga, as well as many of the newer generation writers such as Carolina Monsivaís, Sheryl Luna (a former Andrés Montoya poetry Prize winner), and Yañez himself.
I’m from Fresno, but I have been part of the El Paso literary landscape for over ten years (I have a few pieces in Literary El Paso), and I have always been impressed by how many of the Chicano/a writers we all know and love have come out of these two mid-sized cities. Fresno and El Paso. There must be something in the water, no?
After the reading, the chair of the Creative Writing Department, writer Benjamin Alire Sáenz (also in Literary El Paso), hosted a reception for Yañez.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
and Literary El Paso editor Marcia Hatfield Daudistel
Júarez native Mari(a) Gómez reads from her fiction
Poet Sasha Pimentel Chacón and MFA candidate Silvana Ayala
At the reception, Richard Yañez
and poet Carolina Monsivaís get ready to cut the cake
Raymundo Eli Rojas,
editor of Pluma Fronteriza, joins the party