Kathleen Alcalá

The Clueless Eater

Suddenly Summer

June 3, 2009

Suddenly it’s June. My life has been consumed with planning, visa applications, foreign exchange rates, and the fact that Portuguese is not pronounced at all the way it is spelled! It is warm here, finally, and we are soaking up every drop of daylight.
Next week, I will attend the conference of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) in Rio de Janeiro. A group of us from the anthology Speaking Desde Las Herridas, recently published by the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), will present papers on the continuing dialogue between Mexican and American writers since 9/11. the conference is vast and includes a film festival. Rio has a lot of beaches. What to do?
Later this month, I will travel to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to study under the auspices of the University of New Orleans, I will study translation, Mexican literature and culture, and workshop chapters from my novel-in-progress, Cities of Gold.
The winner of the Bellingham Review fiction context should be announed shortly. Editor Brenda Miller asked me to be the final judge, and I enjoyed reading each of the final stories.
In August, I will attend the conference of the Society for CryptoJudaic Studies in Denver, Colorado. It includes two and a half days of history, geneology, art, music and literature. It is a time to catch up with old friends and a few distant relatives. We will also see our grandchildren, who live there, and maybe get our son, Ben, to break away from his summer job in California for the weekend.
On August 15, we begin the fall semester at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island. Ten days of classes and presentations bring the faculty and staff close together, so close that we are happy to work by computer for the balance of the term! The program is growing and thriving, and if you are interested in writing, I encourage you to follow the link to the website. My colleagues are so well published and awarded, that I cannot begin to list their qualifications in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children and young adult literature.
May your summer allow you to finish at least one project! If not that, maybe your fortune cookie will say, as my husband’s did, “An alien of some sort will be appearing to you shortly.”
Follow the photos of my travels, including our recent train trip to Portland, on Facebook. Let me know what you are reading. I have recent work in an anthology called Seattle Noir from Akashic Press, which includes lots of good summer reading. Enjoy!

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Selected Works

Creative nonfiction, memoir, environmental sustainability.
Combining memoir, historical records, and a blueprint for sustainability, The Deepest Roots shows us how an island population can mature into responsible food stewards and reminds us that innovation, adaptation, diversity, and common sense will help us make wise decisions about our future. And along the way, we learn how food is intertwined with our present but offers a path to a better understanding of the future.
Creative Nonfiction
Essays on Family and Writing

The Desert Remembers My Name makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
Bloomsbury Review
Fiction
"...a mesmerizing tale... the author explores the fascinating confusions and contradictions plaguing a culture precariously poised between tradition and modernization."
Booklist
"She never forgot the power of storytelling as testimony."
The Utne Reader
"Kathleen Alcalá's Spirits of the Ordinary is an enthralling book..."
–Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books

"This book entered my dreams."
–Alberto Rios
Short Fiction
"Thoroughly satisfying."
The New York Times Book Review

"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."
Publishers Weekly

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