Helena Viramontes


Helena Maria VIRAMONTES is associate professor with the Creative Writing Program

of the Department of English at Cornell University, New York. As a writer of fiction

and poetry, she has received widespread critical acclaim for her masterful depictions

of Chicano/a culture. Her work focuses on the struggles and sufferings of Chicana

women in their families, culture, and society. Her first collection of short stories,

entitled The Moths and Other Stories, appeared in 1985, and has since then been

adopted into numerous literary anthologies. Her first novel, Under the Feet of

Jesus, has been compared and taught alongside of John Steinbeck's The Grapes

of Wrath. In her efforts to promote Chicana/o and Latina/o literary work, Dr.

Viramontes served as co-coordinator of The Latino Writers Association from 1978

to 1981 and subsequently co-founded The Southern California Latina/o Writers and

Filmmakers organization, where she served as vice president from 1990 to 1993.

She has organized several major conferences and served as literary editor of

XhismeArte magazine, a grassroots production for Chicano/a and Latino/a literature.

In 1995, she was awarded the John Dos Passos Prize in Literature from the

Longwood Foundation. Dr. Viramontes received an M.F.A. degree in creative writing

from the University of California, Irvine, and an honorary doctorate from St. Mary's

College, Indiana.


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