MCLL alumnus Dr. Julio Puente Garcia receives International Latino Book Award

On left: Fresno State Alum Dr. Julio Puente Garcia and right the cover of his award winning book "Acrobatics Angelinas" that depicts power lines and palm trees in front of a mostly cloudy sky.

Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures alumnus Dr. Julio Puente Garcia received the Rudolfo Anaya Award in the Best Latino Focused Fiction Book category at the International Latino Book Awards for “Acrobatics Angelinas.”

The novel reveals the tragedy and absurdity of the contemporary world of Los Angeles in which atypical Hispanic characters travel. The stories examine migrant labor exploitation, organic food fetishism and gentrification while being critical of intellectual elites.

“‘Acrobatics Angelinas’ is a literary gem that will captivate and move readers,” said Francisco Jiménez, professor at Santa Clara University and author of “Cardboard Boxes, Border Trails and Beyond Me.” “With unexpected twists in the plots and a predilection for marginalized characters –– who, however, do not appear as victims, but as beings with a strong agency –– the stories are carefully crafted and written in a direct and eloquent style.”

Born in Mexico, García moved to the San Joaquin Valley in Central California when he was 19 years old. He worked in the fields and graduated from Fresno State with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Spanish. His thesis, “Modernidad, consciencia y libertad del individuo en Rulfo, Quiroga y Cortázar” (Modernity, conscience and freedom of the individual in Rulfo, Quiroga and Cortázar), was directed by Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, then a professor of Spanish and Portuguese. That work was honored with the Best M.A. Thesis Award in 2011 for the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State.

Later, he earned his doctorate at University of California, Los Angeles in Latin American literature. He is a professor in the Chicano and Latino Studies department at California State University, Los Angeles, and an upper school librarian at the International School of Florence.

“With his writing, Julio Puente García restores the diversity of experiences of the Hispanic community in Los Angeles that day-by-day demonstrates its resistance,” said Isaura Contreras, assistant professor at University of Texas San Antonio and author of “Summer Harvest.”

The International Latino Book Awards is a non-profit organization based in Fallbrook that was established in 1997 to promote Latino literature. Its programs include the Book and Family Festivals, the International Latino Book Awards and the membership program for the International Society of Latino Authors.

The International Latino Book Awards are held every year. Authors, translators and illustrators of books in English, Spanish and Portuguese are honored. Large publishers, medium and small publishers and self-published books account for a third of the registrations.

In Spanish, Garcia’s book was released in March 2021 from Floricanto Press and is available on Kindle.

(Story by Kashvi Deshwal, student assistant in the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State)

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