Viola Canales (born 21 April 1957) is an American writer, professor, and former attorney. She has published a short story collection, Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales (2001),[1] and a novel, The Tequila Worm (2005)[2] for which she won the Pura Belpré Award in 2006.[3] She has also written a bilingual collection of poems, The Little Devil and the Rose: Lotería Poems / El diablito y la rosa: Poemas de la lotería (2014).[4]

Viola Canales
Born (1957-04-21) April 21, 1957 (age 62)
EducationHarvard University (BA, JD)
Partner(s)Pamela S. Karlan


Originally from McAllen, Texas., Canales received a scholarship to attend St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas when she was 15. She graduated cum laude from Harvard College in 1986, and earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1989.[5]


During her undergraduate years at Harvard College, she left twice to work for different organizations. She first worked for United Farm Workers as a community organizer and completed training for the United States Army at Fort Benning. She was stationed in West Germany and served as a tactical director who oversaw the Patriot and Hawk missile systems.[6] After graduating from Harvard Law School, Canales worked at O'Melveny & Myers. She also served as Civil Service Commissioner in Los Angeles and San Francisco.[2] In 1994, Canales was appointed regional administrator for the Small Business Administration during the Clinton Administration.[5] She is currently a lecturer at Stanford Law School, where she teaches courses that combine law and fiction writing.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

Her partner is Pamela Karlan, a professor of law at Stanford Law School and former U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Voting Rights in the United States Department of Justice Civil Division.[7]

List of AwardsEdit

The Tequila Worm (2005)

  • Notable Book by the American Library Association
  • Pura Belpré Medal for Narrative
  • PEN Center USA Award


  1. ^ "Publisher's Review: "Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales" by Viola Canales". Arte Público Press. 2001. Archived from the original on 30 August 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
  2. ^ a b "About This Book". Random House, Inc. 2005. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
  3. ^ "Raul Colón, Viola Canales win Pura Belpré Awards". Press Releases. American Library Association. 23 January 2006. Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
  4. ^ Marcos, The MFA in Creative Writing Program at Texas State University-San. "Front Porch Journal". Retrieved 2016-06-21.
  5. ^ a b "The Beauty of Beans: A Mexican-American girl grows up". Harvard Magazine. Harvard University. January 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
  6. ^ School, Stanford Law. "Viola Canales | Stanford Law School". Stanford Law School. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  7. ^ Jean Ann, Esselink (29 December 2013). "On our radar – An overdue thank you to Pamela S. Karlan". The New Civil Rights Movement. Retrieved 23 March 2015.