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Alma Luz Villanueva author's photo

Alma Luz Villanueva was raised in San Franciscos Mission District, mainly by her curandera/ healer Yaqui grandmother, Jesus Villanueva. Jesus taught her to recite poetry by heart (in Spanish) for church. Though she writes in English, Villanueva says that the language/ meaning is rooted in Spanish, and the Yaqui prayers I heard my grandmother sing every morning to the new Child Sun. Without Mamacita Jesus, no memory, no poetry, no stories.

Villanueva began to publish poetry in the late 1970s, winning first place in poetry with the University of California at Irvine's Chicano Literary Prize. Her books of poetry include Bloodroot, Mother, May I?, Life Span, Planet (Latin American Writers poetry prize), Desire, Vida, Soft Chaos, and Gracias, which will be published simultaneously with her 2013 novel, Song of the Golden Scorpion.

Villanueva's novel, The Ultraviolet Sky, received the American Book Award, and was listed in 500 Great Books by Women. Her second novel, Naked Ladies, won the PEN Oakland fiction award, and was excerpted in Caliente: The Best Erotic Latin American Writing. Her third novel, Lunas California Poppies, was recently excerpted in the anthology, Califlora. Stories from Villanueva's collection, Weeping Woman: La Llorona and Other Stories, have been included in several anthologies, most recently in Coming of Age in the 21st Century.

Her fiction and poetry have been included in numerous textbooks, from elementary school to university, and has been the subject of Masters/ Ph.D. thesis papers in the USA and abroad.

Villanueva taught fiction/ poetry at the University of California, Santa Cruz, as well as Cabrillo College in Aptos. She has been a guest writer at the Naropa Institute, the University of California at San Diego, Stanford University, Pacific University, and many other institutions. She now teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing program with Antioch University in Los Angeles. When she is not traveling to do readings, workshops, seminars, etc., Villanueva lives and writes most of the year in San Miguel de Allende (Mexico).

Follow her blog at: [AlmaLuz's Blog]

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