Kathleen Alcalá is the author of a short story collection, three novels set in 19th Century Mexico and the Southwest, and a collection of essays based on family history. Her work has received the Western States Book Award, the Governor’s Writers Award, and a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award. She received her second Artist Trust Fellowship in 2008, and was honored by the national Latino writers group, Con Tinta, at the Associated Writing Programs Conference in 2014. She has been designated an Island Treasure in the Arts. Kathleen's next book, "The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island," will be published by the University of Washington Press the fall of 2016.
Kathleen has a B.A. in Linguistics from Stanford University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans. Her work is often referred to as magic realism, but Kathleen considers most of it historical fiction. She does, however, have a great affinity for the story-telling techniques of magic realism and science fiction, and has been both a student and instructor in the Clarion West Science Fiction Workshop.
Kathleen was a faculty member at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island until it closed in 2016.
Ursula K. LeGuin said of Kathleen's first collection, “This is a book of wonders. Each story unfolds with humor and simplicity and perfect naturalness into something original and totally unpredictable. The kingdom of Borges and García Marquez lie just over the horizon, but this landscape of desert towns and dreaming hearts … is Alcalá-land. It lies just across the border between Mexico and California, across the border between the living and the dead, across all the borders – a true new world.”
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