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Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea is a Mexican American poet, novelist, and essayist. Urrea's native Mexico has always served as his muse, inspiring all of his books that span five genres. His nonfiction book The Devil’s Highway tells the harrowing story of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. Urrea’s novels The Hummingbird’s Daughter and its sequel, Queen of America, chronicle the life of beloved healer Teresita Urrea, deemed “the Mexican Joan of Arc.” His novel The House of Broken Angels was inspired by the death of his eldest brother.

Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea grew up along both sides of the border, forever affected by its dichotomy, brutality and richness, saying, “Borders everywhere are a symbol of what divides us. That’s what interests me.” He lives in Naperville, Illinois, where he is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Prizes, Awards & Fellowships
  • 2004 Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction