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Final ABR speaker coincides with Community Pachanga

By KBell
April 18, 2011 at 3:04 p.m.
Updated April 17, 2011 at 11:18 p.m.

Author Rolando Hinojosa-Smith will be the final speaker in University of Houston-Victoria's American Book Review series, but his lecture is just the beginning of an effort to bring more Mexican-American culture to the area.

Hinojosa, the so-called dean of Texas Mexican-American letters, is a University of Texas creative writing professor who has written more than 20 books.

"He represents who we are probably better than most because he comes from a bicultural background," said Christine Granados, co-coordinator for Centro Victoria.

His talk at UHV falls in the middle of four days of celebration at Centro Victoria, called Community Pachanga.

The pachanga is "to introduce us to the community, so they know we're here and to celebrate the Mexican-American culture and arts," Granados said.

Hinojosa was born to an Anglo mother and Mexican-American father, both of whom were fluent in English and Spanish.

The bilingual author has published books, poetry and essays. At the UHV event, the military veteran will read two new pieces about Korea.

But Hinojosa, who grew up in the South Texas town of Mercedes, specializes in literature of the area, teaching the "Life and Literature of the Southwest" classes at UT.

Granados said Centro Victoria hopes to promote such literature in the Crossroads.

"They can understand, first of all, who they are - the Mexican-Americans," Granados said. "And the people who are not Mexican-American can understand who they're living with and have been living with for years and years."

This fall, Centro Victoria will release a literary journal, called Huizache, that aims to get more students interested in literature, like Hinojosa said he grew up with.

"I came from a family of readers, and it was really two English teachers in high school who encouraged me to write," he was quoted as saying in a UHV news release. "I was omnivorous and read whatever there was, from the Hardy Boys mysteries to poetry."

Granados said she and several other UHV faculty are excited for the community to enjoy their year-long project making Centro Victoria a cultural hub for the Crossroads.

"It's just a re-awakening of the Mexican-American spirit, culture and community," she said.



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