Kathleen Alcalá

The Clueless Eater

More than skin deep.

August 27, 2009


Okay, a moment to reflect on the last few months. I have been to Rio, Brazil, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Denver, and Whidbey Island, where I teach in a low residency MFA Program. I came home just long enough between trips to wash my clothes and be interviewed on “Think Outloud,” a program of Oregon Public Radio. It was live! But is available on podcast at their site or mine. I haven’t had a chance yet to listen to what I said.

This week, I began as a student online in the fall semester of the University of New Orleans MFA program. I am thrilled to be studying with Joseph and Amanda Boyden. Next week, I begin teaching the fall semester online for the Whidbey program. We graduated five students last week, and they are wonderful writers. As I slipped a hood over Joe Ponepinto’s head, I realized that he now had a higher degree than I do, but I am working on that! We wish the graduates much success.

Seattle Noir, an anthology by Akashic Press, continues to have “legs,” and the editor, Curt Colbert, made an appearance at Eagle Harbor Books last night to lead a discussion with a mystery book club. I showed up long enough to bask. Curt hinted that there was the possibility of a sequel….

I also look forward to the publication of a short story in an anthology from Electrik Milk Bath for Dia de los muertos. My story is called “Skin Deep,” and a very short version of it called “The Spot” was featured on Weekend America, a program distributed on National Public Radio.

Los Norteños had a flash workshop last spring, in which I led the writers through discussions and exercises of prose writing, and this fall we hope to hold another in which Oliver de la Paz will teach prose poetry. This will be at the offices of The Raven Chronicles. Members of Los Norteños will be reading at the new, improved Seattle Bookfest slated for Columbia City this fall. Next spring, look for me in Tucson, Edinburg, Texas, and maybe Austin in February.

May your fall be busy, productive, and full of good fruits and vegetables! (I must be hungry, so let’s throw in some salmon, too.) I am putting together a reading list for The Contemporary Novel for spring semester, so I will post the final list, including the Mystery Book, as soon as it is ready.
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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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