Luis Alberto Urrea, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, will be the fourth and final speaker of the 2009-2010 Distinguished Speakers Series Tuesday, March 23 at The University of Texas-Pan American.
As a Mexican-American author, Urrea has a unique perspective in his writings that will be of interest to those people who live and/or have grown up in the Rio Grande Valley. The critically acclaimed author of 11 books, Urrea is an award-winning poet and essayist. The Devil's Highway, his 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the 2004 Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. Urrea uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph.
Urrea attended the University of California at San Diego, earning an undergraduate degree in writing, and did his graduate studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. His other works include By the Lake of Sleeping Children, In Search of Snow, Ghost Sickness and Wandering Time.
For six consecutive years, the Distinguished Speakers Series has offered UTPA students, faculty and staff and Rio Grande Valley residents the opportunity to hear and learn from some of the world's most intriguing, impactful and inspiring personalities. Free to students and the public, the series is underwritten by student fees, as recommended by the Student Affairs Advisory Committee, and receives support from the Student Union and other University departments.
Prior speakers in the 2009-2010 speaker series were inventor and Apple Computer founder Steve Wozniak, globe-trotting TV journalist Lisa Ling and one of the world's foremost neurosurgeons and brain tumor researchers Dr. Alfredo Quíñones-Hinojosa.
"We are very excited because this is the second time we have featured an author. Mr. Urrea will be here during FESTIBA, where student writers will have the opportunity to hear him speak. Urrea will talk about his award-winning book, The Devils Highway to the public," said Edna Zambrano, Student Union director.
Urrea's presentation, titled "Cross Cultural Experiences in Literature & Life," will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium. Seating for students, staff and faculty with appropriate UTPA ID will begin at 7 p.m.; seating for the public will start at 7:20 p.m.
For more information, call 956/316-7989 or go to www.utpa.edu.