Join Us for the 2022 Anaya Lecture Featuring Ericka Sánchez

The UNM English Department is excited to host New York Times bestselling author, Erika L. Sánchez as this year’s featured speaker in the annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Anaya’s iconic novel, Bless Me, Ultima, and the lecture celebrates this landmark moment at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC). Tickets for all associated events are free and open to the public, but must be reserved in advance (see below).

Before Sánchez’ lecture, the NHCC is hosting a screening of the 2012 film Bless Me, Ultima in celebration of the novel’s fiftieth anniversary.

Friday, September 30, 2022

7:00 pm

Then join us for the Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest featuring Erika Sánchez

Thursday, October 6, 2022

7:00 pm

Albuquerque Journal Theatre

National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC)

1701 4th Street SW

Book-signing and reception to follow.

We hope to also see you at Sánchez’ poetry workshop sponsored by the NHCC, “Negative Capability and the Imagination

Friday, October 7, 2022

11:00 am

All tickets are free and open to the public, but please reserve lecture tickets here; workshop tickets here; and film tickets here.

Erika Sánchez is a Lobo alumna and graduate of the English Department’s MFA program, and she penned the foreword to the Penguin Vitae fiftieth anniversary edition of Anaya’s canonical novel. Anaya founded UNM’s Creative Writing Program and taught in the English Department for nearly twenty years. His papers are held at UNM’s Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections in Zimmerman Library, and some are available through the Rudolfo Anaya Digital Archive. This year’s lecture welcomes Sánchez back to Albuquerque as a successful Latina novelist, poet, essayist and feminist whose work speaks to young women everywhere, and it also pays tribute to Anaya’s novel and its significance to Southwest literature and culture.

Sánchez’s debut poetry collection, Lessons in Expulsion (Graywolf Press 2017) was released alongside her Young Adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Knopf 2017), a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. The novel also won the 2018 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award for Older Readers, and it is currently in production to become a feature film. Her third book, Crying in the Bathroom: A Memoir, was just released to critical acclaim (Viking 2022). Sánchez’s poems have appeared in, Vinyl Poetry, Guernica, diode, Boston Review, Paris Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Magazine, and The New York Times Magazine, and her non-fiction in Al Jazeera,, the Guardian, NBC News, Rolling Stone, Salon, and Cosmopolitan for Latinas, where she was the sex and love advice columnist. As the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants, Sánchez grew up in the working-class town of Cicero, Illinois, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She spent a year in Madrid, Spain on a Fulbright Scholarship before receiving an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico. She is the recipient of a 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellowship, a 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation, and a 2019 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship. Her other accolades include a Ruth Lilly Prize and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a CantoMundo Fellowship, and a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize for her poem “Quniceñera” (2013). She currently holds the prestigious position of the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Chair in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at DePaul University in Chicago.

Rudolfo Anaya founded the annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest in 2010 through a generous donation to the English Department. Since its founding, the lecture series has featured a stellar cast of speakers, including Acoma Pueblo poet Simon Ortiz (2010), Las Cruces writer and playwright Denise Chávez (2011), Taos novelist and activist John Nichols (2012), Kiowa poet and fiction writer N. Scott Momaday (2013), Chicana writer Ana Castillo (2014), Santa Fe mystery writer Anne Hillerman (2015), Latinx poet Rigoberto González (2016), Santa Clara Pueblo potter and poet Nora Naranjo-Morse, opera composer Héctor Armienta (2018), and US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo (2021). In 2019, the lecture series hosted three symposia on the Indigenous Southwest, with Dr. Lourdes Alberto from the University of Utah, Dr. Jennifer Denetdale from UNM, and Jason Asenap (UNM), Tristan Ahtone (High Country News), and Shaun Beyale (graphic artist). Erika Sánchez adds to this distinguished list of speakers.

For more information about the lecture series, visit our website at, or contact the UNM English Department at or (505) 277-6347.

To support the lecture series and keep the events free and open to the public please visit

We are in the final stretch of our fundraising campaign to create The Rudolfo Anaya Sala, a public home for Mr. Anaya’s memorabilia and other special collections in Zimmerman Library, where students and community members can sit, reflect and learn more about his creative writing and work. We have just $10k more to go, so please make a donation today to make our vision a reality. We will recognize and display your contribution and generosity in the new Rudolfo Anaya Sala! Please visit or contact Carol Kennedy at for more information.