Two California-born writers-one from East L.A. and the other from the Central Valley-discuss their understanding of stories as a way to complicate our views of self, of morality, and of our relationships with the world around us.
Helena María Viramontes is the author of The Moths and Other Stories; Under the Feet of Jesus: A Novel; and the co-editor, with Maria Herrera Sobek, of two collections: "Chicana (W)rites: On Word and Film and Chicana Creativity and Criticism." Her latest novel is Their Dogs Came With Them. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2006 Luis Leal Award and the John Dos Passos Award for Literature, her short stories and essays have been widely anthologized and her writings have been adopted for classroom use and university study. A community organizer and former coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association, she is a frequent reader and lecturer in the U.S. and internationally. Born and raised in East L.A., Viramontes now lives in Ithaca, New York, where she is Professor in the Department of English at Cornell University.
Manuel Muñoz is the author of The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue, a collection of short stories. Zigzagger, his first short-story collection, was published by Northwestern University Press in 2003. He is the recipient of a Constance Saltonstall Foundation Individual Artist's Grant in Fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship for 2006. His work has appeared in many journals, including Rush Hour, Swink, Epoch, Glimmer Train, Edinburgh Review and Boston Review, and has aired on National Public Radio's "Selected Shorts." A native of Dinuba, California, Manuel graduated from Harvard University and received his MFA in creative writing at Cornell University. He now lives in New York City, where he is at work on a novel.