Surviving the American Dream: A Conversation on Latino Literature

March 21, 2012

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Dagoberto Gilb. Photo by Jean Luc Bertini.

Dagoberto Gilb, author of Before the End, After the Beginning, speaks with host Achy Obejas about issues facing Latino literature.

Dagoberto Gilb is the author of The Flowers, Gritos, Woodcuts of Women, The Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña, and The Magic Blood, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many magazines, most recently Harper's, the New Yorker, and Callaloo, and are reprinted widely. Gilb is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has been a finalist for both the PEN/Faulkner and National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the executive director of CentroVictoria, a center for Mexican American literature and culture at the University of Houston, Victoria, where he is also writer in residence.

His most recent book, Before the End, After the Beginning, is an exquisite collection of ten stories. The pieces come in the wake of a stroke Gilb suffered at his home in Austin, Texas, in 2009, and a majority of the stories were written over his many months of recovery. The result is a powerful and triumphant book that tackles common themes of existence and identity and describes the American experience in a raw, authentic vernacular unique to Gilb.

This event contains explicit language and adult themes.

Story Week Festival of Writers features some of the best, most diverse voices at work today in fiction, film, theater, art, music, and publishing. Other events from this festival recorded by Chicago Amplified—listed in the order they were presented—are as follows:

2nd Story
Reading/Grad Open Mic Featuring Megan Stielstra
Bonnie Jo Campbell and Don DeGrazia
Bonnie Jo Campbell and Donna Seaman
Portraits of an American Dream: The Female in Contemporary Fiction
Full Time Fiction Writing Faculty Reading featuring Betty Shiflett
Beyond the Dream: What It Takes to Get Published
From Page to Stage: Scenes From Student Playwrights
Conversation with Playwright Young Jean Lee
Surviving the American Dream
Reading, Conversation, and Book Signing with John Sayles
Literary Rock & Roll: American Dreamers with Heidi W. Durrow, John Sayles, Patricia Ann McNair, musical guest Canasta
Chicago Classics

Recorded Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at the Logan Square Arts Center.