Biography: Born on June 25, 1953, Chican@ poet, novelist, essayist, and short story writer, Ana Castillo, grew up in an inner-city Chicago barrio, a setting and an upbringing that often influences the content of her writing. In the Introduction to “My Father Was a Toltec,” Castillo explains her initial writing impulse as a sudden possession to “compose from a place so deep within it felt like the voice of an ancestor embedded in a recessive gene,” following the death of her paternal grandmother. Like Celaya in Caramelo, Castillo’s writing represents the voice of her ancestors, particularly her father’s mother. Castillo’s writing often focuses on women’s oppression, as well as various other forms of racism, sexism, and classism. Using her writing as a form of social protest, Castillo writes out against social injustices and speaks for those who do not have the chance to speak for themselves.
Education: MA- Latin and Caribbean Studies, University of Chicago
PhD- American Studies, University of Bremen
Awards: The American Book Award, Carl Sandburg Award, Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, National Endowment for the Arts