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Presented By: Zell Visiting Writers Series

Lending Attention and the Understory

A Craft Lecture by Luis Alberto Urrea, Zell Visiting Writers Series

Luis Alberto Urrea Luis Alberto Urrea
Luis Alberto Urrea
Login here (no pre-registration needed): http://tinyurl.com/ZellWriters23

Zell Visiting Writers Series craft lectures are free and open to the public, and will be offered both virtually (via Zoom) and in person (in The Robert Hayden Conference Room, Angell Hall #3222). Seats are offered on a first come, first served basis; please arrive early to secure a spot. Please contact kimjulie@umich.edu with any questions or accommodation needs.

"In Spanish, you do not 'pay attention,' you 'lend attention.' I use this idea as a subtle technique in character development that often draws details from the people and places I know best. These details are what I call “the understory” of memory. The way authors do this is not accidental, it is a form of intuitive writing. There is always more than meets the eye."

Luis Alberto Urrea, a Guggenheim Fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist, is the author of 18 books, winning numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, Urrea is most recognized as a border writer, though he says, “I am more interested in bridges, not borders.” His most recent novel, Good Night Irene, was published in May 2023 and is inspired by his mother’s service in Europe during WWII as a Red Cross Clubmobile “Donut Dolly.”

The Devil’s Highway, Urrea’s 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. The House of Broken Angels, was a 2018 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He won an American Academy of Arts and Letters Fiction award for his collection of short stories, The Water Museum, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Urrea’s novel Into the Beautiful North is a Big Read selection of the National Endowment of the Arts. He is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

For any questions about the event or to share accommodation needs, please email kimjulie@umich.edu-- we are eager to help ensure that this event is inclusive to you. The building, event space, and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. A lactation room (Angell Hall #5209), reflection room (Haven Hall #1506), and gender-inclusive restroom (Angell Hall 5th floor) are available on site. ASL interpreters and CART services at in-person events are available upon request; please email kimjulie@umich.edu at least two weeks prior to the event, whenever possible, to allow time to arrange services.

U-M employees with a U-M parking permit may use the Church Street Parking Structure (525 Church St., Ann Arbor) or the Thompson Parking Structure (500 Thompson St., Ann Arbor). There is limited metered street parking on State Street and South University Avenue. The Forest Avenue Public Parking Structure (650 South Forest Ave., Ann Arbor) is five blocks away, and the parking rate is $1.20 per hour. All of these options include parking spots for individuals with disabilities.

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