2015 Colombia Tour

Participants:

Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis ALBERTO URREA is the best-selling author of 16 books, including The Devil's Highway and The Hummingbird's Daughter. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Urrea has won the Lannan Literary Award, the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize, an American Book Award, the Christopher Award and an Edgar Award, among other honors. His novel Into the Beautiful North is a current selection of the NEA's Big Read program. His books have been selected by more than 45 different cities and colleges for community reads programs and he is much in demand as a speaker, lecturer and teacher. This year featured two new releases for Urrea: The Tijuana Book of the Dead and The Water Museum. He lives outside of Chicago and is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

José Skinner

José SKINNER is the author of Flight and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the Western States Book Award for Fiction and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and of the forthcoming collection The Tombstone Race. He worked as an English/Spanish court and conference interpreter before earning his MFA in fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His fiction and translations have appeared in Colorado Review, Other Voices, Bilingual Review, Puerto del Sol, and other literary journals, and his nonfiction in anthologies such as Desde las Heridas: Transborder Testimonies and Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence. He is the co-founder and former director of the bilingual MFA in Creative Writing the University of Texas-Pan American.

Stephanie Elizondo Griest by Alexander Devora

Originally from south Texas, Stephanie ELIZONDO GRIEST is the author of the memoirs Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana and Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines as well as the guidebook 100 Places Every Woman Should Go. She has written for The Believer, Oxford American, New York Times, and Washington Post, and edited the anthology Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010. The winner of a Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting, she has been a Henry Luce Scholar in China, a Hodder Fellow at Princeton, and currently teaches Creative Nonfiction at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Joan Kane by Sherwin Bitsui

Joan NAVIYUK KANE is the author of The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife and Hyperboreal. She has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, the USA Projects Creative Vision Award, an American Book Award, the Alaska Literary Award, and fellowships from the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska State Council on the Arts, Alaska Arts and Cultures Foundation, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and the School for Advanced Research. Kane graduated from Harvard College, where she was a Harvard National Scholar, and Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where she was the recipient of a graduate writing fellowship. Inupiaq with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, she raises her children in Anchorage, Alaska, and is a faculty mentor with the low-residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Christopher Merrill

Christopher Merrill has published six collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many works of translation and edited volumes, among them, The Forgotten Language: Contemporary Poets and Nature and From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O’Keeffe as Icon; and five books of nonfiction, The Grass of Another Country: A Journey Through the World of Soccer, The Old Bridge: The Third Balkan War and the Age of the Refugee, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, and The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War. His work has been translated into nearly forty languages, his honors include a knighthood in arts and letters from the French government, and his journalism appears in many publications. As director of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, he has undertaken cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries.

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