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CCW Book Discussion: The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea

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Marist Annex

The Catholic University of America

Washington, DC 20064

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Join the Contemporary Catholic Writers Reading Group for happy hour and a discussion of

The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea

The prizewinning writer Luis Alberto Urrea's long-awaited novel is an epic mystical drama of a young woman's sudden sainthood in late 19th-century Mexico. It is 1889, and civil war is brewing in Mexico. A 16-year-old girl, Teresita, the illegitimate but beloved daughter of the wealthy and powerful rancher Don Tomas Urrea, wakes from the strangest dream-a dream that she has died. Only it was not a dream. This passionate and rebellious young woman has arisen from death with a power to heal-but it will take all her faith to endure the trials that await her and her family now that she has become the Saint of Cabora. The Hummingbird's Daughter is a vast, hugely satisfying novel of love and loss, joy and pain.

About the Author:

Luis Alberto Urrea, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. Born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea has published extensively in all the major genres. The critically acclaimed and best-selling author of 13 books, Urrea has won numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays. The Devil's Highway, his 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. An historical novel, The Hummingbird's Daughter tells the story of Teresa Urrea, sometimes known as the Saint of Cabora and the Mexican Joan of Arc. The book, which involved 20 years of research and writing, won the Kiriyama Prize in fiction and, along with The Devil's Highway, was named a best book of the year by many publications. It has been optioned by acclaimed Mexican director Luis Mandoki for a film to star Antonio Banderas. Urrea's most recent novel, Into the Beautiful North, imagines a small town in Mexico where all the men have immigrated to the U.S. A group of young women, after seeing the film The Magnificent Seven, decide to follow the men North and persuade them to return to their beloved village. A national best-seller, Into the Beautiful North, earned a citation of excellence from the American Library Association Rainbow's Project. A short story from Urrea's collection, Six Kinds of Sky, was recently released as a stunning graphic novel by Cinco Puntos Press. Mr.Mendoza's Paintbrush, illustrated by artist Christopher Cardinale, has already garnered rave reviews and serves as a perfect companion to Into the Beautiful North as it depicts the same village in the novel. Into the Beautiful North, The Devil's Highway and The Hummingbird's Daughter have been chosen by more than 30 different cities and colleges for One Book community read programs. Urrea has also won an Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America for best short story (2009, "Amapola" in Phoenix Noir). His first book, Across the Wire, was named a New York Times Notable Book and won the Christopher Award. Urrea also won a 1999 American Book Award for his memoir, Nobody's Son: Notes from an American Life and in 2000, he was voted into the Latino Literature Hall of Fame following the publication of Vatos. His book of short stories, Six Kinds of Sky, was named the 2002 small-press Book of the Year in fiction by the editors of ForeWord magazine. He has also won a Western States Book Award in poetry for The Fever of Being and was in The 1996 Best American Poetry collection. Urrea's other titles include By the Lake of Sleeping Children, In Search of Snow, Ghost Sickness and Wandering Time. Urrea attended the University of California at San Diego, earning an undergraduate degree in writing, and did his graduate studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. After serving as a relief worker in Tijuana and a film extra and columnist-editor-cartoonist for several publications, Urrea moved to Boston where he taught expository writing and fiction workshops at Harvard. He has also taught at Massachusetts Bay Community College and the University of Colorado and he was the writer in residence at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Urrea lives with his family in Naperville, IL, where he is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

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FAQs

Q: What is the Contemporary Catholic Writers Group?

A: CCW is a reading series started by Catholic University English graduate students in 2015. Learn more about us on our English department webpageand listen to author talks and interviews here. All CCW events are free and open to everyone.

Q: How do you choose which books to read?

A: Everyone who participates in a book discussion during a given semester is invited to suggest titles for the next semester's reading list and to vote on the final selections. We often take titles from lists compiled by leading Catholic literary artists and editors (here and here, for example) and the Catholic Literary Imagination conference series (here and here), but we are always open to new ideas from a variety of people and sources.

Q: Will the author be present at this book discussion?

A: No, but we will update the event page if there's ever a surprise visit.

Q: Why do I need to register?

A: RSVPs help us ensure there will be enough space, food, and drink for everyone. We appreciate the heads up!

Q: Should I bring anything for happy hour?

A: Feel free to bring a beverage or snack to share, but we'll be just as happy if you just bring yourself.

Q: What if I haven't finished the book before the meeting?

A: Join us anyway! We enjoy serious, in-depth discussions focused on major themes, characters, and the nuts and bolts of literary craft, but we're not sticklers. Regardless of how far you are in the book, you're welcome to participate as much or as little as you're comfortable with. We recommend picking out a favorite passage or two that we can read aloud and use as jumping off points for further discussion.

Q: Where exactly is the event location and where can I park?

A: Marist Annex is on the north end of campus (C7 on campus map): https://www.catholic.edu/res/docs/cuamap.pdf.) Free street parking is available on Harewood Road.


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Marist Annex

The Catholic University of America

Washington, DC 20064

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