Rediscover: Rolando Hinojosa-Smith

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, "who created a fictional version of the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where he was raised by Anglo and Hispanic parents, as the backdrop for 15 novels," died April 19 at age 93, the New York Times reported. "Dr. Hinojosa-Smith wrote stories in Spanish and English about race, power, class, money and war in Belken County, creating a vivid world that mirrored his own life." The National Book Critics Circle presented him with the Ivan Landrof award for lifetime achievement in 2014, calling him the "dean of Chicano authors."

A professor of literature at the University of Texas at Austin for 35 years, Hinojosa-Smith began his Klail City Death Trip series in 1972 with Estampas del Valle y Otras Obras (published in English in 1983 as The Valley), which won the Premio Quinto Sol in 1973 for the best work of fiction by a Chicano writer. Three years later, he earned the prestigious Casa de las Américas Prize, which honors Latin American writers, for the novel Klail City y Sus Alrededores, which would be titled Klail City when it was published years later in English. The Valley/Estampas del Valle is available in a paperback bilingual edition from Arte Público Press ($16.95).

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