Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education
Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 7:00P.M., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco



Hosted by Jennifer De Leon

with Yalitza Ferreras, Erika Martinez, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Blanca Torres

celebrating the release of

Wise Latinas
Writers on Higher Education

Edited and with an introduction by Jennifer De Leon

College can be a complex time for Latinas, who are traditionally expected to leave home when they get married. In her essay "Only Daughter," author Sandra Cisneros remarks, "After four years in college and two more in graduate school, and still no husband, my father shakes his head even now and says I wasted all that education."

Wise Latinas is a collection of personal essays addressing the varied landscape of the Latina experience in higher education. For some Latinas, college, where they are vastly underrepresented, is the first time they are immersed in American culture outside their homes—and where the values of two cultures often clash. Wise Latinas is in part a response to this widening gap.

Featuring acclaimed writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Norma Cantú, and Julia Alvarez, to name a few, Wise Latinas shows that there is no one Latina college experience. With thoughtful and engaging pieces, Wise Latinas provides a platform for Latina writers to share their experiences in higher education and gives a voice to the many Latina women who have taken risks; embraced the new, confronted change; and maintained (and in some cases found) their roots.

About the participants:

Jennifer De Leon is the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Ms., Brevity, Poets & Writers, Best Women's Travel Writing 2010, and elsewhere. Her essay, "The White Space," originally published in Fourth Genre, was listed as notable in Best American Essays 2013. She teaches at Grub Street and in Boston Public Schools. To learn more about her work, visit http://www.jenniferdeleonauthor.com/.

Yalitza Ferreras was born in Brooklyn and raised in New York and the Dominican Republic. She has spent the last twelve years working as a visual designer in New York City and San Francisco, California. Her fiction is forthcoming in the anthology, Daring to Write: Contemporary Narratives by Dominican Women. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and is currently working on a novel and a collection of short stories. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto and is currently a Steinbeck Center fellow.

Erika Martinez is the editor of the forthcoming anthology, Daring to Write: Contemporary Narratives by Dominican Women. Recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and a Hedgebrook Writing Residency, she holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Mills College. Her writing appears in several publications, including Homelands: Women's Journeys across Race, Place and Time, and A Sense of Place: The Washington State Geospatial Poetry Anthology. To find out more about her work, visit www.erikammartinez.com.

Ingrid Rojas Contreras is a Colombian writer. She's a blogger on the literary beat for KQED. Her fiction is forthcoming in Guernica and out in American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans; F Magazine; and Make: a Chicago Literary Magazine, among other. An early draft of her debut novel, Niebla, was shortlisted for the Amazon/Penguin Breakthrough Novel Award. Currently, she is working on a non-fiction book about her grandfather, a medicine man who could move clouds. She is the recipient of awards and residencies from the San Francisco Arts Commission, NALAC, Djerassi Residents Artists Program, Sandra Cisneros' Macondo Foundation, and the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference.

Blanca Torres has worked as a reporter for several major newspapers in Detroit, Kansas City, Fort Worth Texas, Seattle, Baltimore and now San Francisco, where she writes for the San Francisco Business Times. She earned a Masters of Fine Arts in fiction from Mills College and was the 2009 winner of the Marion Hood Boess Haworth Prize for Fiction for Children & Young Adults. In 2009, she completed a residency with Ana Castillo as part of Voices of Our Nation Arts. In 2012, she attended Cristina Garcia’s Dos Brujas writer’s conference and Summer Fishtrap in Eastern Oregon. She is a founding member of Sunday Stories, a Bay Area writing group that frequently organizes readings and events including the Brown People Don’t Read? series that has been part of LitCrawl for the past three years. Blanca lives in San Francisco and is working on a collection of short stories and a memoir about her mother’s childhood in Mexico.