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Rudolfo Anaya

Rudolfo Anaya (1937–2020), “godfather” of Chicano literature

by Kirk Fox

Rudolfo Anaya was called the “godfather” of Chicano literature. He was best known for his novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.” 

  • Died: Sunday, June 28, 2020. (Who else died on June 28?) 
  • Details of Death: Died at the age of 82 after a long illness. 
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Mexican-American Literary Pioneer 

Anaya was born and grew up in New Mexico, graduating with amasters from the University of New Mexico and taught high school English His first novel, “Bless Me, Ultima,” was published in 1972 and has influenced many Latino writers. It tells the story of a young Mexican-American boy’s relationship with an older curandera, or healer, The book was adapted into a movie in 2013, starring Miriam Colon. Anaya also wrote a series of mystery novels featuring Mexican-American detective Sonny Baca. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2016. 

A vision inspired “Bless Me, Ultima” 

In a 2013 interview with C-Span, Anaya told the story of how he saw a vision of a woman while he was writing. “She said, ‘You’ll never get it right unless you put me in it’,” “I said, ‘Who are you?’ She said, ‘Ultima’ … And there it was.” 


What they said about him

Full Obituary: San Diego Union Tribune

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