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Famous Mexican-American Author to Discuss New Book at UW

February 5, 2019
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Luis Alberto Urrea, an award-winning Mexican-American author, will discuss his newest book, “The House of Broken Angels,” Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. (Joe Mazza Photo)

Award-winning author Luis Alberto Urrea will visit the University of Wyoming Tuesday, Feb. 19, to discuss his newest book, “The House of Broken Angels,” beginning at 7 p.m. at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center.

Urrea’s hourlong talk is free and open to the public. His book will be available for purchase and signing afterward.

“Luis is a literary and cultural rock star,” says Brad Watson, director of UW’s Creative Writing Program. “He’s always in great demand as a speaker, but is especially so in these times when people are trying to make sense of so many contentious and painful issues such as immigration, Trump’s wall and the toll such things take on families. As a novelist and cultural critic, no one is more relevant right now than Luis. We’re proud and pleased we’re able to host him at UW this month.”

Known for his Latino heritage, Urrea is described as a master storyteller who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. He was born in Tijuana, Mexico, to a Mexican father and an American mother, and grew up in San Diego, Calif.

The author of 16 books, Urrea has published extensively in many genres and has received many prestigious awards. “The Devil’s Highway,” his nonfiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His highly acclaimed historical novels, “The Hummingbird’s Daughter” and “Queen of America,” together, tell the story of Teresita Urrea, a great-aunt who was a healer and Mexican folk hero. In 2017, his book “Into the Beautiful North” was adapted into a production and shown at theaters across the country.

Urrea describes his most recent work, “The House of Broken Angels,” as “the story of an American family, one that happens to speak Spanish and admire the Virgin of Guadalupe. Imperfect and glorious, messy and hilarious, sometimes heroic.” Inspired by the death of his brother, Urrea’s novel mines his own family history to tell a once-in-a-lifetime tale, simultaneously intimate in its detail and grand in its scope. Novels like this, offering clarifying insight into the daily lives, trials and triumphs of Mexican-Americans, are especially needed today, according to his website.

The event is sponsored by the Creative Writing Program in the UW Department of Visual and Literary Arts, with major support from the UW College of Arts and Sciences and Dean Paula Lutz. Co-sponsors are UW Libraries, the Department of English, the College of Law, the Latina/o Studies Program and the Honors College.

For more information on the event, email Watson at

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