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The Big Texas Author Talk featuring Carmen Tafolla

November 15, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CST

Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 via Zoom @ 7PM CST

Up Next: Carmen Tafolla’s children’s book, Warrior Girl. Moderated by Dr. Rita Urquijo-Ruiz.



An insightful novel in verse about the joys and struggles of a Chicana girl who is a warrior for her name, her history, and her right to choose what she celebrates in life.

Celina and her family are bilingual and follow both Mexican and American traditions. Celina revels in her Mexican heritage, but once she starts school, it feels like the world wants her to erase that part of her identity. Fortunately, she’s got an army of family and three fabulous new friends behind her to fight the ignorance. But it’s her Gramma who’s her biggest inspiration, encouraging Celina to build a shield of joy around herself. Because when you’re celebrating, when you find a reason to sing or dance or paint or play or laugh or write, they haven’t taken everything away from you. Of course, it’s not possible to stay in celebration mode when things get dire–like when her dad’s deported and a pandemic hits–but if there is anything Celina’s sure of, it’s that she’ll always live up to her last name: Guerrera–woman warrior–and that she will use her voice and writing talents to make the world a more beautiful place where all cultures are celebrated.


Carmen Tafolla is an internationally acclaimed Chicana writer from San Antonio, Texas, and a professor emerita of bicultural bilingual studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Tafolla served as the poet laureate of San Antonio from 2012 to 2014, and was named the Poet Laureate of Texas for 2015–16. Tafolla has written more than 40 books and won multiple literary awards. She is one of the most highly anthologized Chicana authors in the United States, with her work appearing in more than 300 anthologies. https://www.carmentafolla.net/


Dr. Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz is a Mexicana/Chicana queer educator, author, and translator who teaches Spanish as well as Queer, Chicana/o, and Latinx Studies at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She is the translator of Xelena González and Adriana Garcia’s award-winning books: Where Wonders Grow (Donde las maravillas crecen) and Remembering (Te recuerdo). She was absolutely thrilled when Dr. Carmen Tafolla invited her to translate her novel in verse Warrior Girl (Guerrera). Rita’s story about being previously undocumented, entitled “First Visit,” was published in the award-winning anthology Somewhere We are Human: Authentic Voices on Migration, Survival, and New Beginnings, coedited by Reyna Grande and Sonia Guiñansaca.

The Big Texas Author Talk is a *free* lecture series devoted to showcasing Texas authors from across our big state. Each month we feature one Texas author in conversation with another—from New York Times bestsellers living in Dallas, Houston, and Austin to our rich Texas Latinx border authors living in Laredo and McAllen, not to mention from other deep pockets and corners of our culturally diverse state.  Our lecture series is as entertaining as it is informative—and like Texas itself, we offer a vast array of storytellers who represent the spirit of our extremely distinct Lone Star State and continue to keep us on the literary map. In the past, we’ve featured novelists such as Kathleen Kent, Marisol Cortez, Joe Lansdale, and Antonio Ruiz-Camacho and Texas poet laureates such as Carmen Tafolla, Laurie Ann Guerrero, Jenny Brown, and Emmy Pérez.


November 15, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CST
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