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Arturo Islas
(May 25, 1938 - February 15, 1991) U.S.A.

Arturo Islas

Novelist, teacher of literature


Born in El Paso, Texas, Islas grew up in the same desert country along the Mexican-American border that is the home of the Angel family in his novels. He earned his undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from Stanford University, where he continued as a professor of English.

He was a member of Phi Betta Kappa, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and a University Fellow, as well as a recipient of the Lloyd W. Dinkelspeil Award for outstanding service as English professor to undergraduate education at Stanford University.

One of Islas' most popular courses was a limited enrollment seminar, called "American Lives," that mixed readings in a literary autobiography with students' own attempts to chronicle important aspects of their lives.

Islas, a Chicano/Mexican-American, a homosexual, and a child of the border - writes from a space of oppression and resistance. As a Chicano writer, Islas is marginalized both by the mainstream and within his own Chicano community. In and through his stories, Islas is able to not only transgress the bridge between cultures, but also to take his readers along for the journey.

He wrote The Rain God (1984), and its companion novel Migrant Souls (1991), a year before he died at home in Stanford. He was at work on a third novel.


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