I come from a town called Brownsville, located at the southern end of the Rio Grande River, just across the bridge from Matamoros, Mexico. Originally from San Luis Potosí, my ancestors settled in this border region back in the 1850s, and since then we have spread far and wide across the country. I live in Austin with my family now, only 350 miles north but a world away from where I started. Still, as it is for many us, regardless of where we come from, home remains home.
I write novels, stories, and essays about the border. My first book was a story collection called Brownsville, which was named a Notable Book of 2004 by the American Library Association and today is used in courses at several universities. Amigoland, my first novel, was selected for the 2009 Austin Mayor’s Book Club, a citywide reading initiative by Austin Public Library. My work has earned me fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Institute of Letters (Dobie Paisano), and the Copernicus Society of America. Since 2004, I’ve taught creative writing courses at the University of Texas at Austin.
My new novel, Where We Come From, will be published in May 2019. It’s about a lot of things—too many to list here—but what I can tell you is that I wrote it to understand what happens when you are separated from a place or a person but a piece of that place or person never leaves you.