‘Read, read, read to stoke the furnace,’ and more writing advice from Luis Alberto Urrea
pbs.org – Friday July 12, 2019
When Luis Alberto Urrea was 21 years old, he received a pearl of wisdom from Rudolfo Anaya, considered one of the founding authors of contemporary Chicano literature. “If you can make your Mexican grandmother the grandmother of a reader in Iowa or Nebraska through your art,” Anaya said, “then you have accomplished the most powerful, moral and political act in the world.”
Since then, Urrea says, that advice has woven its way into everything he’s written. Urrea, who was born in Tijuana and whose father is Mexican and mother American, often writes about the Mexican-American experience in his novels, nonfiction, essays and poems. He is a 2005 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for “The Devil’s Highway,” his nonfiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the barren Arizona desert. His most recent book, “The House of Broken Angels,” is the June pick for PBS NewsHour-New York Times book club, “Now Read This.”
Below, Urrea shares more advice for writers and readers about establishing a routine (or not), starting anywhere with literature (you never know it will lead), and getting inspiration in unlikely places (even from the symphony).
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