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Rudolfo Anaya (born October 30, 1937) is an American author. Best known for his 1972 novel Bless Me, Ultima, Anaya is considered one of the founders of the canon of contemporary Chicano literature.[1]

Rudolfo Anaya
Born (1937-10-30) October 30, 1937 (age 81)
Pastura, New Mexico
OccupationNovelist, poet, play writer, educator
Notable worksBless Me, Ultima
Notable awardsAmerican Book Award;
Quinto Sol; National Medal of Arts
SpousePatricia Lawless

Early life and educationEdit

Rudolfo Anaya was raised in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. His father was a vaquero from a family of cattle workers and sheepherders. His mother’s family was composed of farmers from Puerto De Luna in the Pecos Valley of New Mexico.[2] Anaya grew up with two half-brothers, from his mother’s previous marriage, and four sisters. The beauty of the desert flatlands of New Mexico, referenced as the llano in Anaya's writings, had a profound influence on his early childhood.[3]

Anaya’s family relocated from rural New Mexico to Albuquerque in 1952, when he was in the eighth grade.[4] He attended Albuquerque High School, graduating in 1956.[3] This experience later appeared as an autobiographical allusion in his novel Tortuga.[2] Following high school, he earned a B.A. in English and American Literature from the University of New Mexico in 1963. He went on to complete two master's degrees at the University of New Mexico, one in 1968 for English and another in 1972 for guidance and counseling.[2] While earning his master's degrees, Anaya worked as a high school English teacher in the Albuquerque public schools from 1963 until 1968.[3][5] In 1966, he married Patricia Lawless, who continues to support his writing.[2]


He began writing Bless Me, Ultima in 1963, with the manuscript completed and published by Quinto Sol in 1972.[2] Initially, Anaya faced tremendous difficulty getting his work published by mainstream publishing houses because of its unique combination of English and Spanish language, as well as its Chicano-centric content.[6] Independent publishing house Quinto Sol quickly published the book after awarding it the Premio Quinto Sol in 1971 for best novel written by a Chicano.[2] The book went on to sell over 300,000 copies in 21 printings.[7] Following the book's success, Anaya was invited to join the English faculty at the University of New Mexico in 1975, where he taught until his retirement in 1993.[6] Anaya also traveled extensively through both China in 1984, and South America following his retirement. His experiences in China are chronicled in his travel journal, A Chicano in China, published in 1986.[2][3] During the 90's, Anaya found an even wider audience as mainstream publishing house Warner books signed him on for a six-book deal beginning with his novel Alburquerque, and including subsequent novels Zia Summer, Rio Grande Fall, Jalamanta: A Message from the Desert, Shaman Winter, and The Anaya Reader, a collection of his works.[3][7][8]

Bless Me, Ultima was released as a full-length film on February 22, 2013.[9] Anaya has also published a number of books for children and young adults. His first children's book was titled The Farolitos of Christmas, and was published in 1995.[3] He currently resides in Albuquerque and spends several hours daily writing.[3][10]



  • Bless Me, Ultima (1972), ISBN 0-446-67536-9
  • Heart of Aztlan (1976), ISBN 0-915808-18-8
  • Tortuga (1979), ISBN 0-915808-34-X
  • Silence of the Llano: Short Stories (1982), ISBN 0-89229-009-9
  • The Legend of La Llorona: A Short Novel (1984), ISBN 0-89229-015-3
  • Lord of the Dawn: the Legend of Quetzalcóatl (1987), ISBN 0-8263-1001-X
  • Alburquerque (1992), ISBN 0-8263-1359-0[11]
  • Jalamanta: A Message from the Desert (1996), ISBN 0-446-52024-1
  • Serafina's Stories (2004), ISBN 0-8263-3569-1
  • The Man Who Could Fly and Other Stories (2006), ISBN 0-8061-3738-X
  • Randy Lopez Goes Home: A Novel (Chicana & Chicano Visions of the Americas Series) (2011), ISBN 0806141891
  • "The Old Man's Love Story" (Chicana & Chicano Visions of the Americas series) (2013) ISBN 0806143576
  • The Sorrows of Young Alfonso (Chicana & Chicano Visions of the Americas series) (2016)9780806152264

Sonny Baca seriesEdit

Books for childrenEdit

  • The Farolitos of Christmas: A New Mexico Christmas Story (1987), ISBN 0-937206-05-9
  • Maya's Children: The Story of La Llorona (1996), illustrated by Maria Baca, ISBN 0-7868-0152-2
  • Farolitos for Abuelo (1998), illustrated by Edward Gonzalez, ISBN 0-7868-0237-5
  • My Land Sings: Stories from the Rio Grande (1999), illustrated by Amy Córdova, ISBN 0-688-15078-0
  • Elegy on the Death of César Chávez (2000), illustrated by Gaspar Enriquez, ISBN 0-938317-51-2
  • Roadrunner's Dance (2000), illustrated by David Diaz, ISBN 0-7868-0254-5
  • The Santero's Miracle: A Bilingual Story (2004), illustrated by Amy Córdova, Spanish translation by Enrique Lamadrid, ISBN 0-8263-2847-4
  • The Curse of the ChupaCabra (2006), ISBN 0-8263-4114-4
  • The First Tortilla (2007), illustrated by Amy Córdova, Spanish translation by Enrique Lamadrid, ISBN 0-8263-4214-0
  • ChupaCabra and the Roswell UFO (2008), ISBN 0-8263-4469-0

Non-fiction and AnthologiesEdit

  • Voices from the Rio Grande: Selections from the First Rio Grande Writers Conference (1976)
  • Cuentos: Tales from the Hispanic Southwest (1980), with Jose Griego y Maestas, ISBN 0-89013-111-2
  • A Ceremony of Brotherhood, 1680–1980 (1981), edited with Simon J. Ortiz
  • Cuentos Chicanos: A Short Story Anthology (rev. ed. 1984), edited with Antonio Márquez, ISBN 0-8263-0772-8
  • A Chicano in China (1986), ISBN 0-8263-0888-0
  • Voces: An Anthology of Nuevo Mexicano Writers (1987, 1988), editor, ISBN 0-8263-1040-0
  • Aztlán: Essays on the Chicano Homeland (1989), edited with Francisco A. Lomelí, ISBN 0-929820-01-0
  • Tierra: Contemporary Short Fiction of New Mexico (1989), editor, ISBN 0-938317-09-1
  • Flow of the River (2nd ed. 1992), ISBN 0-944725-00-7
  • Descansos: An Interrupted Journey (1995), with Denise Chávez and Juan Estevan Arellano, ISBN 0-929820-06-1
  • Muy Macho: Latino Men Confront Their Manhood, edited and introduction by Ray Gonzales, ISBN 0-385-47861-5
  • Chicano/a Studies: Writing into the Future (1998), edited with Robert Con Davis-Undiano


Published or Performed PlaysEdit

  • The Season of La Llorona
  • Ay, Compadre! (1994)
  • The Farolitos of Christmas (1987)
  • Matachines (1992)
  • Billy the Kid (1995)
  • Who Killed Don Jose? (1995)
  • Rosa Linda (2013)

Bless Me, Ulitma, (2018)

Awards and honorsEdit



  1. ^ Cesar A. Gonzales-T., The Ritual and Myth of Experience in the Works of Rudolfo A. Anaya, published in A Sense of Place: Rudolfo A. Anaya: An Annotated Bio-Bibliography (2000).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Fernandez Olmos, Margarite. "The Life of Rudolfo A. Anaya." Rudolfo A. Anaya: A Critical Companion. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 1999. ABC-CLIO eBook Collection. Web. 20 Feb 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Gale - Free Resources - Hispanic Heritage - Biographies - Rudolfo Anaya". Archived from the original on 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2015-01-01.
  4. ^ Con Davis-Undiano, Robert. "Author profile: Rudolfo A. Anaya." World Literature Today 79.3-4 (2005): 88. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.
  5. ^ Anaya, R.A.; Dick, B.; Sirias, S. (1998). Conversations with Rudolfo Anaya. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781578060788. Retrieved 2015-01-01.
  6. ^ a b Clark, William. "Rudolfo Anaya: 'the Chicano worldview.'(Interview)." Publishers Weekly 5 June 1995: 41+. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.
  7. ^ a b Clark, William. "The mainstream discovers Rudolfo Anaya." Publishers Weekly 21 Mar. 1994: 24. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.
  8. ^ "'Bless Me, Ultima,' a New Mexico classic of Chicano literature". Tao News. November 21, 2018.
  9. ^ "Bless Me, Ultima The Movie". Retrieved 2015-01-01.
  10. ^ "Library renamed in author Rudolfo Anaya's honor". KOB4. March 15, 2018.
  11. ^ "Alburquerque: A Novel: Rudolfo Anaya: 9780826340597: Books". Retrieved 2015-01-01.
  12. ^ "Gale - Free Resources - Hispanic Heritage - Biographies - Rudolfo Anaya". Archived from the original on 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2015-01-01.
  13. ^ "President Obama to Award 2015 National Humanities Medals".

External linksEdit