Tim Z. Hernandez
Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

celebrating the release of

All They Will Call You

from University of Arizona Press

with special guests: Margi Dunlap, Connie Ann Mart, and Lance Canales

All They Will Call You is the harrowing account of "the worst airplane disaster in California's history," which claimed the lives of thirty-two passengers, including twenty-eight Mexican citizens—farmworkers who were being deported by the U.S. government. Outraged that media reports omitted only the names of the Mexican passengers, American folk icon Woody Guthrie penned a poem that went on to become one of the most important protest songs of the twentieth century, "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee)." It was an attempt to restore the dignity of the anonymous lives whose unidentified remains were buried in an unmarked mass grave in California's Central Valley. For nearly seven decades, the song's message would be carried on by the greatest artists of our time, including Pete Seeger, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez, yet the question posed in Guthrie’s lyrics, "Who are these friends all scattered like dry leaves?" would remain unanswered—until now.

Tim Z. Hernandez will be joined by Margi Dunlap and Connie Ann Mart, two women directly related to the song and the incident, as well as Lance Canales, a musician who helped secure a long-overdue memorial for the Mexican victims of the crash.

Combining years of painstaking investigative research and masterful storytelling, award-winning author Tim Z. Hernandez weaves a captivating narrative from testimony, historical records, and eyewitness accounts, reconstructing the incident and the lives behind the legendary song. This singularly original account pushes narrative boundaries, while challenging perceptions of what it means to be an immigrant in America, but more importantly, it renders intimate portraits of the individual souls who, despite social status, race, or nationality, shared a common fate one frigid morning in January 1948.

Tim Z. Hernandez was born and raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley. An award-winning poet, novelist, and performer, he is the recipient of the American Book Award for poetry, the Colorado Book Award for poetry, the Premio Aztlán Prize for fiction, and the International Latino Book Award for historical fiction. His books and research have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, CNN, Public Radio International, and National Public Radio. Hernandez holds a BA from Naropa University and an MFA from Bennington College. Hernandez makes his home in El Paso, where he is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at El Paso’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. You can find more information at his website, www.timzhernandez.com

Margi Dunlap is a resident of Pilot Hill, California, where she retired after 34 years working in immigrant rights and immigration law. She is the niece of Martin Hoffman, the musician who is credited with turning Woody Guthrie's poem, "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee)" into the popular protest song that later went on to be recorded by music icons such as Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Baez, and many others.  

Connie Ann Mart is a resident of West Marin County, California, where she makes her living as controller for West Marin Senior Services. She is the niece of pilot Frank Atkinson, who perished in the 1948 plane wreck at Los Gatos Canyon.

Lance Canales, a musician who collaborated with Hernandez on creating a new arrangement of the song that now includes the names of the Mexican victims. 

What has been said of Tim Z. Hernandez work:


“Tim Z. Hernandez is the real thing. This epic, tragic story is finally being told, and it is in the best possible hands.”—Luis Alberto Urrea
 
“An important and moving book, exploring the theme of identity and loss and disenfranchisement—topics that have never been more urgent than they are now. Hernandez has illuminated the present with this original and riveting examination of the past.”—Susan Orlean
 
“There’s something miraculous about the storytelling feat Tim Z. Hernandez has pulled off in All They Will Call You. With great compassion and patience, he has immersed himself in a long-forgotten episode of California history, and uncovered a multilayered epic of love, injustice, and family fortitude, stretching across generations and borders. This is an intelligent, empathic, and deeply moving work.”—Héctor Tobar
 
“In his lyrics to 'Plane Wreck at Los Gatos,’ my father, Woody Guthrie, asked a simple question, 'Who are these friends?’ and finally someone has answered that question. It was unknown if their stories would ever come to light, or if they would simply remain ghosts without names, as if they had no lives at all—as if they didn’t count. Through Hernandez’s amazing work, I now know who these people were, their lives, their loves, and their journeys. All They Will Call You is a heart-wrenching read for anyone who cares, and the names—now etched in stone in a far-off graveyard—have become friends who will travel with me as long as I am walking.”—Arlo Guthrie