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López, Lorraine 1956–

López, Lorraine 1956–

PERSONAL: Born 1956. Education: California State University at Northridge, B.A.; University of Georgia, M.A., Ph.D., 2000.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of English, Vanderbilt University, Box 1654, Station B, 331 Benson Hall, Nashville, TN 37235. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Educator and author. Has taught at middle schools, high schools, and universities. Brenau University, Gainesville, GA, former faculty member; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, professor of English, 2002–. Institute for Violence Prevention, Athens, GA, cofounder and director of education programs.

AWARDS, HONORS: Miguel Marmól Prize for fiction from Curbstone Press, Independent Publishers Book Award for multicultural fiction, and Latino Book Award for short stories from the Latino Literary Hall of Fame, all for Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories.

WRITINGS:

Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories, Curbstone Press (Willimantic, CT), 2002.

Call Me Henri (novel), Curbstone Press (Willimantic, CT), 2006.

Contributor to books, including The Mammoth Anthology of Short Fiction, and of poetry and prose pieces to periodicals, including Prairie Schooner, U.S. Latino Review, Flagpole Magazine, Northridge Review, Crab Orchard Review, and New Letters.

SIDELIGHTS: Lorraine López is an English professor whose first work of fiction, the short story collection Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories, was warmly received by critics and won several awards. The eleven stories contained here explore issues of identity and present characters trying to fit into society or establish good relationships with their family and peers. Sometimes the characters struggle with cultural differences; sometimes they struggle with self-image or with alcoholism and other addictions. Reviewers of the collection praised both López's characterizations and her skillful narrative technique. Discussing the latter, reviewer Ranjana Varghese commented in the Gulf Coast Magazine Online that López "is a master of illusion" who is able to lull her readers into complacency just before surprising them with revelations; she is also able to reveal "the exotic, the novel, or the purely strange" in ordinary people. Booklist contributor Carlos Orellana called Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories "a vibrant and memorable collection," Mary Margaret Benson declared it to be a "superb collection" in her Library Journal review, and a Kirkus Reviews writer concluded that "López is an original, and this is a fine collection." Noting the trend in literature by minority writers to point out the positive aspects of minority communities in America and to enlighten readers about them, Varghese asserted that "an attempt to fit López's fiction into any of these categories would be disastrous at worst, unfair at best. López's story collection exceeds these boundaries."

When asked by interviewer Jantje Tielken of the Curbstone Press Web site about the role of Chicano literature in today's society, López replied: "The role of literature is the same as the role of art which is to expand upon a person's store of knowledge and experience in such a way that the person perceives the world differently, more comprehensively. Obviously, the role of Chicano literature is the same for me."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2002, Carlos Orellana, review of Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories, p. 1922.

Choice, January, 2003, R.B. Shuman, review of Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories, p. 826.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2002, review of Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories, p. 613.

Library Journal, June 1, 2002, Mary Margaret Benson, review of Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories, p. 1999.

ONLINE

Curbstone Press Web site, http://www.curbstone.org/ (January 24, 2006), Jantje Tielken, interview with Lorraine López.

Gulf Coast Magazine Online, http://www.gulfcoastmag.org/ (January 24, 2006), Ranjana Varghese, review of Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories.

NewPages.com, http://www.newpages.com/ (January 24, 2006), Denise Bazzett, review of Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories.

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