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Piper Writers Studio Faculty Luis Avila

Bilingual Phoenix: Chronicles of a Desert City with Luis Avila

Date(s): Tuesdays, April 10 - 24 and May 8, 2017, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre and Form(s):

$225 Regular, $203 ASU Affiliate, $175 Student
About the Class: 

Some people think of the desert as a void, a place that’s lacking. On the contrary, the Sonoran Desert is a place of abundance, a landscape that’s facilitated transit, displacement, belonging, and diversity for far longer than Phoenix became the largest city inhabiting it. The 6th largest metropolis in the United States continues to change, to adapt to its new residents and realities. Almost 40% of Phoenix’s population is Latino, many of us immigrants from Northern Mexico, carrying stories, traditions, opinions, many finding ways to make our journeys transcend. That’s the goal of this course, an effort to chronicle the stories of people who live here, but without the limitations of one language, and allowing those who write in English, Spanish, code-switch or express themselves in Spanglish, to do so.

In the beginning of this course, we will learn what literary and journalistic chronicles are, how they are composed, some of their important exponents, and texts by cronistas of our generation. We will then take the learning to the city, we will observe, write, present, and give each other feedback, attempting to write, polish and finalize texts collectively. Luis Avila will facilitate the conversations, and provide individual feedback to participants.

About the Instructor(s): 

Luis Avila is a writer, playwright, director, actor, radio producer and community organizer. At age 15, Avila founded a youth publication in Querétaro, Mexico, where he served as editor, and collaborated with over 20 people who contributed news, poetry, chronicles, and more. Migrating in 2000 to the United States, Avila stayed in Arizona to attend college, where he developed a bilingual publication that focused in the arts, politics and social justice from the perspective of bilingual youth. In 2004, Avila learned about voting rights in Jackson, Mississippi, as part of the American Freedom Summer program, and he decided to make a career as a community organizer. He collaborated with others to advocate for the DREAM Act, fight against SB1070 and challenge Sheriff Joe Arpaio's discriminatory practices in Arizona. Avila has an extensive career as a journalist, and has been a contributor for La Voz, the Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times, Hijos de la Malinche, Hispano Post, Mixed Voices, and other publications. He has also served as a contributor for CNN en Español, AMC Media, El Nuevo Heraldo, Radio Formula, La Voz de los Vientos, and Medios Caminantes. In 2016, Luis published the book of chronicles, Nomada Temporal, which was featured #1 in the best seller list of Amazon’s travel section. Avila is currently working in a collection of short stories based in Phoenix, Arizona.