The Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest
Thanks to a generous contribution from the renowned fiction writer Rudolfo Anaya and his late wife Patricia Anaya, the UNM English Department established the Rudolfo & Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest in 2010. The annual lecture series brings together students, faculty, and community members to address the rich traditions of Southwest literature and new directions in literary and cultural scholarship for our dynamic region.
The annual Anaya Lecture is free and open to the public.
This Year 2021
Tenth Annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest
featuring US Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo
Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa and is an award-winning writer, performer, and saxophone player of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. Her numerous publications include nine books of poetry, a memoir, a young adult novel, a children’s book, and five CDs featuring her poetry and music. Harjo will release her sixth CD, I Pray for My Enemies, on May 5, 2021. In 2019, Harjo was named the twenty-third US Poet Laureate, the nation’s first Native American poet to receive such an honor. Harjo was reappointed to a second term on April 30, 2020, and a third term on Nov. 19, 2020.
Her other prestigious awards include the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, a PEN US Literary Award for Nonfiction, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Harjo is Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and currently holds a Tulsa Artist Fellowship. We are thrilled to host and welcome back our prestigious speaker, US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, who graduated with a BA in English from UNM, where Mr. Anaya taught for nearly two decades. The tenth annual lecture is the first since Mr. Anaya’s passing in 2020. We will honor Mr. Anaya with Harjo’s lecture, a homecoming for a lobo alumna and a fitting tribute to Mr. Anaya’s legacy at UNM and in the English Department.
In 2010, Mr. Anaya established the lecture series through a generous gift to the English Department. A renowned fiction writer, founder of UNM’s distinguished Creative Writing Program, and former instructor of Joy Harjo, Mr. Anaya is also an Emeritus Professor of English at UNM. His papers are held at UNM’s Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections and are now available online through the Rudolfo Anaya Digital Archive: https://anaya.unm.edu/
2019 - Lourdes Alberto, Jason Asenap, and Jennifer Nez Denetdale
In 2019, the UNM English Department hosted a series of symposia. The first lecture, “Trauma and Kinship: Mesoamerica in the Poetry of Ana Castillo and Natalie Diaz" was delivered by Dr. Lourdes Alberto, a Zapotec indigenous scholar and Associate Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of Utah. The second symposium, “New Approaches, New Genres: Indigenous Voices Now,” featured Jason Asenap, a Comanche and Muscogee Creek writer, director, and occasional actor based in Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Jennifer Nez Denetdale, Professor of American Studies at UNM and Director of the Institute for American Indian Research delivered the third lecture, “Indigenous Feminisms and the Futures of Native America."
2018 - Héctor Armienta
Héctor Armienta is a distinguished composer, librettist, and pianist, and his work has been performed throughout the United States, in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Barcelona, Spain. He is the artistic director of Opera Cultura, the only Latino-focused opera company in the United States. His work explores the Mexican and Mexican American cultural experience, and it draws on and reinvents Western and indigenous traditions. His awards and commissions include those from Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts International, Opera Pacific, the Pacific Company, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Western Stage Theater, and Opera Southwest.
2017 - Nora Naranjo Morse'
Nora Naranjo Morse is an internationally known sculptor, poet, filmmaker and producer of films on Pueblo life and culture. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Heard Museum, the Smithsonian, and at the National Museum of the American Indian, where her hand-built sculpture piece, Always Becoming, was selected from more than 55 entries submitted by Native artists as the winner of an outdoor sculpture competition in 2005. She is the author of the poetry collection Mud Woman: Poems from the Clay (1992), which combines poems with photographs of her clay figures.
2016 - Rigoberto González
Rigoberto González is the author of fourteen books, including four books of poetry; ten books of fiction; a collection of short stories; two bilingual children’s books and a series of young adult novels; and three books of nonfiction. His first poetry collection, So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water Until It Breaks (1999), was a National Poetry Series selection, and his recent poetry collection, Unpeopled Eden (2013) was the winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. His first memoir, Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa (2006) won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.
2015 - Anne Hillerman
Anne Hillerman is the author of eight published non-fiction books and has worked as an editorial page editor, arts editor, and food critic for the Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe New Mexican. Anne Hillerman’s first novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter (2013), made the New York Times bestseller list and received the 2014 Spur Award for the Best First Mystery from Western Writers of America. The book also received two New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards for Best Book and Best Mystery of 2014. She recently published a second mystery novel, Rock With Wings (2015), and is currently working on a third.
2014 - Ana Castillo
Ana Castillo is one of the leading figures in Chicana and contemporary literature. A celebrated poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator and independent scholar, Castillo is the author of the novels So Far From God and Sapogonia, both New York Times Notable Books of the Year, as well as The Guardians, Peel My Love like an Onion, and many other books of fiction, poetry, and essays. Her most recent novel is Give it to Me, and the 20th anniversary edition of her groundbreaking book The Massacre of the Dreamers: Essays on Xicanisma will be published this October by the University of New Mexico Press.
2013 - N. Scott Momaday
N. Scott Momaday is one of the most distinguished writers of our time. His first novel House Made of Dawn was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1969, an event that brought new visibility to American Indian literature and literature of the Southwest, a landscape that has inflected his fiction, poetry, and paintings for decades.
Born in New Mexico in 1937, Rudolfo Anaya is a foundational figure in contemporary Chicana/o literature. His critically acclaimed novel Bless Me, Ultima has reached a broad global audience since its initial publication in 1972. Set in rural New Mexico in the 1940's, the novel addresses land, language, and cultural identity through the story of a young boy’s relationship with the curandera named Ultima. The novel was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts as a classic American novel for The Big Read program and is taught regularly in high schools and colleges. An independent film adaptation of the novel was released in 2012 by writer and director Carl Franklin.
Rudolfo Anaya is the author of more than 15 novels and story collections, 10 children’s books, multiple works of nonfiction, and several plays. The novels Heart of Aztlan (1978) and Tortuga (1979) complete a trilogy that began with Bless Me, Ultima. His work also includes the Sonny Baca quartet of detective novels, Albuquerque (1992),The Many Who Could Fly and Other Stories (2006), and Randy Lopez Goes Home (2011). Anaya’s many honors and awards include the Premio Quinto Sol for Chicano literature, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) National Medal of Arts Lifetime Honor, the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, the People’s Choice Award from the New Mexico Book Awards, and the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement from the Los Angeles Times.
Anaya graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1963 and returned as a professor in the Department of English Language and Literature from 1974–1993. "The English Department cherishes the fact that Emeritus Professor Rudy Anaya was on our faculty for so many years. A founder of our distinguished Creative Writing Program, he still inspires us with his joyous approach to life, sense of humor, and eloquent articulation of Hispanic culture and the beauties of the Southwest. He has long been an internationally known man of letters, but we take pride in the fact that he began his career in our department," says Professor and Department Chair Gail Houston. "We feel privileged to have received his generous donation, and we look forward to sharing this free event with everyone on campus and in the community. There is no better venue for celebrating Southwest literature than the UNM Department of English."
The valuable collections of the UNM Center for Southwest Research include the complete papers of Rudolfo A. Anaya, 1960–2004
The collection includes manuscripts of Rudolfo Anaya’s published and unpublished work, materials from his career as a professor, and correspondence with colleagues and students, with a primary focus on Chicano/a culture and New Mexico’s cultural landscape.
Show Your Support
To contribute to the Anaya Lecture Series on the Literature of the Southwest, or to support Hispanic students working towards a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing via the Rudolfo Anaya Fellowship Fund , contact the UNM Foundation directly via their secure giving website or at 1–800–UNM–FUND (866–3863).
For additional information about the Anaya Lecture series, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.