A list of titles by for the 2019-20 Lit & Luz Festival participants. Prepare to see them or follow up with their work!
This is only the tip of the iceberg!
The House of Broken Angels
By Luis Alberto Urrea
Published by Back Bay Books (2019)
In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies, transforming the weekend into a farewell doubleheader. Among the guests is Big Angel's half brother, known as Little Angel, who must reckon with the truth that although he shares a father with his siblings, he has not, as a half gringo, shared a life.
Across two bittersweet days in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle among the palm trees and cacti, celebrating the lives of Big Angel and his mother, and recounting the many inspiring tales that have passed into family lore, the acts both ordinary and heroic that brought these citizens to a fraught and sublime country and allowed them to flourish in the land they have come to call home.
A Cruelty Special to Our Species
By Emily Jungmin Yoon
Published by Ecco (2019)
In her arresting collection, urgently relevant for our times, poet Emily Jungmin Yoon confronts the histories of sexual violence against women, focusing in particular on Korean so-called “comfort women,” women who were forced into sexual labor in Japanese-occupied territories during World War II.
In wrenching language, A Cruelty Special to Our Species unforgettably describes the brutalities of war and the fear and sorrow of those whose lives and bodies were swept up by a colonizing power, bringing powerful voice to an oppressed group of people whose histories have often been erased and overlooked. “What is a body in a stolen country,” Yoon asks. “What is right in war.”
Moving readers through time, space, and different cultures, and bringing vivid life to the testimonies and confessions of the victims,Yoon takes possession of a painful and shameful history even while unearthing moments of rare beauty in acts of resistance and resilience, and in the instinct to survive and bear witness.
By Sara Uribe and translated by John Pluecker
Published by Les Figures Press (2016)
ANTÍGONA GONZÁLEZ is the story of the search for a body, a specific body, one of the thousands of bodies lost in the war against drug trafficking that began more than a decade ago in Mexico. A woman, Antígona González, attempts to narrate the disappearance of Tadeo, her elder brother. She searches for her brother among the dead. San Fernando, Tamaulipas, appears to be the end of her search.
But Sara Uribe's book is also a palimpsest that rewrites and cowrites the juxtapositions and interweavings of all the other Antigones. From the foundational Antigone of Sophocles passing through Griselda Gambaro's Antígona furiosa, Leopoldo Marechal's Antígona Vélez, María Zambrano's La tumba de Antígona all the way to Antigone's Claim by Judith Butler. And this book's writing machine includes testimonies from family members of the victims and fragments and fragments from news stories that provide accounts of all these absences, all the bodies that we are missing.
By Veronica Gerber Biecci, and Translated by Christina MacSweeney
Published by Coffee House Press (2018)
How do you draw an affair? A family? Can a Venn diagram show the ways overlaps turn into absences, tree rings tell us what happens when mothers leave? Can we fall in love according to the hop skip of an acrostic? Empty Set is a novel of patterns, its young narrator's attempt at making sense of inevitable loss, tracing her way forward in loops, triangles, and broken lines.
Procesos De La Noche
By Diana del Ángel
Published by Almadia Ediciones Sapi De C.V. (2018)
"Procesos de la noche" tells the judicial odyssey that Julio César Mondragón's family had to undertake in order to clarify the truth about his murder. Julio's case stands out for being the most explicit evidence of the violence used in Iguala against the students of the Ayotzinapa teacher's college, and that resulted in the disappearance of 43 of them. The author shares her experience with the El Rostro de Julio collective, which helped the student's family get forensic studies to determine the details of his death.
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Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays
By Eula Biss
Published by: Graywolf Press
A frank and fascinating exploration of race and racial identity
Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays begins with a series of lynchings and ends with a series of apologies. Eula Biss explores race in America and her response to the topic is informed by the experiences chronicled in these essays -- teaching in a Harlem school on the morning of 9/11, reporting for an African American newspaper in San Diego, watching the aftermath of Katrina from a college town in Iowa, and settling in Chicago's most diverse neighborhood.
As Biss moves across the country from New York to California to the Midwest, her essays move across time from biblical Babylon to the freedman's schools of Reconstruction to a Jim Crow mining town to post-war white flight. She brings an eclectic education to the page, drawing variously on the Eagles, Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Baldwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Joan Didion, religious pamphlets, and reality television shows.
These spare, sometimes lyric essays explore the legacy of race in America, artfully revealing in intimate detail how families, schools, and neighborhoods participate in preserving racial privilege. Faced with a disturbing past and an unsettling present, Biss still remains hopeful about the possibilities of American diversity, "not the sun-shininess of it, or the quota-making politics of it, but the real complexity of it."