Santos, John Phillip

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Santos, John Phillip

PERSONAL:

Born in San Antonio, TX. Ethnicity: "Mexican American." Education: University of Notre Dame, B.A.; St. Catherine's College, University of Oxford, M.A.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Watson Institute, Brown University, Box 1970, Providence, RI 02912-1970. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, freelance filmmaker, producer, journalist; Watson Institute, Brown University, Providence, RI, visiting fellow; previously worked in development at Teletopia Labs, and as a producer for the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Producer of the documentary films From the AIDS Experience: Part I, Our Spirits to Heal, Part II, Our Humanity to Heal, and Exiles Who Never Leave Home.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Academy of American Poets' Prize, Notre Dame; Rhodes Scholar, University of Oxford; Oxford Prize for fiction; Berlin Prize Fellow, American Academy in Berlin, Germany.

WRITINGS:

Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation (memoir), Viking (New York, NY), 1999.

Songs Older Than Any Known Singer: Selected and New Poems, 1974-2006, foreword by Arturo Madrid, Wings Press (San Antonio, TX), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the San Antonio Express-News.

SIDELIGHTS:

John Phillip Santos is a writer, poet, freelance filmmaker, producer, and journalist. Born in San Antonio, Texas, Santos earned his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame University, then continued his education abroad, taking a master's degree from St. Catherine's College at the University of Oxford in England, where he was the first Mexican American to become a Rhodes Scholar. A man of diverse interests, he has worked as a producer for television networks, including the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); produced documentary films such as From the AIDS Experience: Part I, Our Spirits to Heal, Part II, Our Humanity to Heal, and Exiles Who Never Leave Home; and helped to develop the documentary production workshops at Teletopia Labs. He has twice won Emmy nominations for his television work. Santos has also written for a number of periodicals, including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, a memoir of his family that was a finalist for the National Book Award, and Songs Older Than Any Known Singer: Selected and New Poems, 1974-2006.

In Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, Santos combines memoir with a spiritual journey of sorts. At seventeen, having discovered that his grandfather had committed suicide, Santos began to look into his story. Juan José Santos had been born in Mexico, but during the Mexican Revolution fled that country, immigrating to San Antonio where the family remained for generations. However, one morning, Juan José's body was discovered floating along the San Antonio river. While believed to be a suicide, his death could not be definitively categorized, and so he received a standard religious burial in consecrated ground. However, no one spoke of his death, and his life became just as shrouded in secrecy as the years went by. As Santos searched for more information about his grandfather, both his life and the story of his death, he inevitably unearthed a great deal about his native Mexico as well, and so the book becomes a search for history, both personal and of a grander scope. Barbara Strickland, in a review for the Austin Chronicle Online, remarked that Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation "is a book that only a journalist could dream, and only a poet could write." Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman wrote that "many Americans will find themselves in the narrative of upheaval and migration."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Santos, John Phillip, Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, Viking (New York, NY), 1999.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August 1, 1999, Hazel Rochman, review of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, p. 2013.

Christian Science Monitor, October 21, 1999, review of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, p. 16.

Library Journal, August 1, 1999, Boyd Childress, review of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, p. 106; June 1, 2007, Lawrence Olszewski, review of Songs Older Than Any Known Singer: Selected and New Poems, 1974-2006, p. 122.

Publishers Weekly, November 1, 1999, review of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, p. 51.

ONLINE

Austin Chronicle Online,http://www.austinchronicle.com/ (May 15, 2008), Barbara Strickland, review of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation.

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (May 15, 2008), author profile.

Texas Book Festival Web site,http://www.texasbookfestival.org/ (May 15, 2008), author profile.

Watson Institute Web site,http://www.watsoninstitute.org/ (May 15, 2008), faculty profile.

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