Nicolás Kanellos’ project to recover a half million lost works written by Hispanic authors has substantially raised awareness about Latino literature from
the colonial period to 1960.
Now Kanellos, a professor at the University of Houston since 1980, will bring his publishing expertise to the University of Houston-Victoria on Sept. 4 as
the first author of the Fall American Book Review Reading Series. His talk will be at noon in the Alcorn Auditorium of UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben
Wilson St. The public is invited to attend the free event, and light refreshments will be served.
Kanellos and his students have preserved and made accessible more than 500,000 written works of Latinos in America through Recovering the U.S. Hispanic
Literary Heritage Project.
“We are honored to welcome Dr. Kanellos to Victoria to kick off the fall reading series,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts &
Sciences. “His impact on Latino literature is immeasurable. His publishing house, literary journal and recovery projects have paved the way for people to
enjoy the works of thousands of Latino writers.”
|Jeffrey Di Leo
Kanellos is the author or editor of more than 30 books. He is the founding publisher of noted Hispanic literary journal The Americas Review. In 1979, he
started the nation’s oldest and most esteemed Hispanic publishing house, Arte Público Press. The press is the largest, nonprofit publisher of literature in
Rather than give a reading from a specific book at UHV, Kanellos said he plans to share some insight into the world of publishing. Kanellos said publishing
is always a struggle, though recently his publishing house has received considerable acclaim. Authors who have had recent works published by Arte Público
Press have won the National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award and PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award.
Kanellos also has received numerous awards himself, including the 1989 American Book Award in the Publisher/Editor Category, the 1988 Hispanic Heritage
Award for Literature presented by the White House and the 2013 Houston Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Awards for Education in the Community.
“We have a local presence that is important,” Kanellos said. “We try to contribute a lot to education in the Houston area.”
Kanellos’ latest book, “Hispanic Immigrant Literature: El Sueño del Retorno,” was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice and won the PEN Southwest
Award for Non-Fiction.
Written and recorded by people from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, the book tells accounts of the trials and
tribulations immigrants faced, reasons for emigrating and the adjustment to a new society.
“The book assembled 20 years of research in conjunction with our large research project, which uncovered all kinds of materials that were previously
unknown,” Kanellos said. “We also publish books about border culture and various issues about the border. In fact, we recently published a book on the
subject by Sergio Troncoso called ‘Our Lost Border.’”
Jeff Sartain, ABR managing editor and assistant professor in the UHV School of Arts & Sciences, praised Kanellos for making lost Latino literature
available to educators, students and the public. The essays, autobiographies, historical and journalistic writings, novels, diaries and letters are
digitally available through Internet research databases.
“The recovery project has unearthed an amazing number of literary works,” Sartain said. “I’m sure Dr. Kanellos has many fascinating stories about how he
and his team found these long-forgotten texts. His tireless pursuit of discovering Latino literature has led to much greater understanding of what life was
like for Latinos during those time periods.”
Other writers scheduled for the Fall 2014 UHV/ABR Reading Series are:
Ron Riekki, Sept. 25
– Riekki is the author of the novel “U.P.” and the anthology “The Way North,” which has won several publishing awards this year, including a Midwest Book
Award and Next Generation Indie Book Award. His fiction, nonfiction and poetry have been published by numerous presses, including Verse Wisconsin, WSU
Press, Moonshot Magazine and many other literary journals. His next book, “Here,” will be published by Michigan State University Press in May 2015.
Amber Dermont, Oct. 16
– Dermont is the New York Times bestselling author of the novel “The Starboard Sea” and the short story collection “Damage Control.” Her short stories have
appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, including Dave Eggers’s “Best American Nonrequired Reading,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “Zoetrope:
All-Story” and Jane Smiley’s “Best New American Voices.” She is an associate professor of English at Rice University.
Oscar Casares, Nov. 6
– Casares is the author of the novel “Amigoland” and a collection of stories titled “Brownsville.” He has earned fellowships from the National Endowment
for the Arts, the Copernicus Society of America and the Texas Institute of Letters. “Brownsville” was selected by the American Library Association as a
Notable Book of 2004. “Amigoland” was selected by the 2010 Mayor’s Book Club in Austin for that year’s citywide reading campaign. He teaches creative
writing and is director of the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Texas at Austin.
Nan Cuba, Dec. 4
– Cuba is founder and executive director emeritus of the nonprofit literary center Gemini Ink in San Antonio. She is the author of the novel “Body and
Bread,” which won the PEN/Southwest Award in Fiction and the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction. She received a
Fundación Valparaiso Residency Grant in Mojácar, Spain, and was twice the runner-up for the Dobie Paisano Fellowship. As an investigative journalist, she
reported on causes of extraordinary violence in publications such as LIFE, Third Coast and D Magazine.
Kanellos will be available after the reading to sign copies of his book, which can be purchased at the event. During his visit, he will meet with students
and attend functions in the community.
ABR is a nonprofit, internationally distributed literary journal published six times a year. It began in 1977, moved to UHV in 2007 and has a circulation
of about 8,000. The journal specializes in reviews of works published by small presses.
For more information about the UHV/ABR Reading Series, call the ABR office at 361-570-4101 or go to www.americanbookreview.org.