University of Houston Scholar Wins the 2021 Xavier Villaurrutia Writers Award for Writers

Cristina Rivera Garza, Distinguished Professor in Hispanic Studies and director of the creative writing program at the University of Houston, was recently awarded the 2021 Xavier Villaurrutia Writers Award for Writers, one of the highest literary awards in Mexico.

Professor Rivera Garza was honored for her book El Invencible Verano de Liliana (Literatura Random House, 2021) which is based on the story of her sister’s unsolved murder in a borough of Mexico City in 1990. The work ultimately helped locate the suspect, but the wider impact was the visibility it gave to the scourge of violence against women in Mexico and the voice it gave to victims, like her sister Liliana. The book will be released in English by Hogarth Press in 2023. It is the first book Professor Rivera Garza has written in both English and Spanish.

A native of Mexico, Dr. Rivera Garza has lived in the United States since 1989. She studied urban sociology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and received a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Latin American history from the University of Houston. Dr. Rivera Garza is the author of six novels, three collections of short stories, five collections of poetry, and three non-fiction books. Earlier in her career, she taught at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego.

Professor Rivera Garza is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow. She is one of only 10 recipients of the Berlin Prize for spring 2023. The semester-long fellowship is awarded annually to top-tier scholars, writers, composers, and artists who are from or live in the United States.

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