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López, Lorraine M. 1956–

López, Lorraine M. 1956–

Personal

Born 1956, in Los Angeles, CA; children: Nicholaus. Education: California State University, Northridge, B.A.; University of Georgia, M.A., Ph.D. (English).

Addresses

Home—Nashville, TN. Office—Department of English, Vanderbilt University, Box 1654, Station B, Nashville, TN 37235. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Educator, poet, and fiction-writer. Former middle-school and high-school teacher; Brenau University, Gainesville, GA, former instructor in English; Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, currently assistant professor of English. Institute for Violence Prevention, Athens, GA, cofounder and former education programs director.

Awards, Honors

Miguel Marmól Prize for Fiction, Independent Publishers Book Award for Multicultural Fiction, and Latino Book Award for Short Stories, 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 (young-adult novel), Curbstone Press (Willimantic, CT), 2006.

Contributor of reviews, poetry, and short fiction to periodicals, including Southern Review Prairie Schooner, U.S. Latino Review, Crab Orchard Review, Watershed Anthology, and New Letters.

Sidelights

In addition to her work as a teacher of English and creative writing in public schools and, more recently, at the university level, Lorraine M. López is also an award-winning fiction writer and poet. Her short fiction, which focuses on transcending differences in class, culture, and race, has appeared in periodicals such as New Letters and Prairie Schooner, and eleven of her tales have been collected in Soy la Avon Lady, and Other Stories. Focusing on the dynamics of modern Chicano culture, Soy la Avon Lady, and Other Stories introduces a variety of predominately southwestern characters whose circumstances range from the comic to the tragic. Noting that López "is brilliant in her depiction of extended families," Mary Margaret Benson called the work "superb" in her Library Journal review, while Booklist critic Carlos Orellana deemed it "vibrant and memorable."

Dealing with differences and the need to fit in is the subject of López's young-adult novel Call Me Henri. In the story, middle-schooler Enrique copes with his abusive alcoholic stepfather at home and danger on the streets of his barrio. For Enrique school is a welcome refuge and the way to a better life, but his difficulty in learning the English language threatens his academic success. While language problems could be easily solved, in Enrique's view, by learning French instead of English (hence the book's title), problems elsewhere do not resolve themselves so neatly. When the gang violence escalates, resulting in the death of a good friend and threats on Enrique's own life, his teachers and a special friend help the preteen survive in a novel School Library Journal contributor Carol A. Edwards praised for its "admirably human and resilient protagonist."

"Although López writes fiction, she delivers a hard-hitting, accurate description of life" as it is lived by many teens, according to a Kirkus Reviews writer.

"I often write about incidents that have happened to me or that I have heard about from family or friends," López noted in an interview for the Curbstone Press Web site, "and I invent characters and events as well. Most often I mix what I know has occurred with what I have invented, and the same is true for characters. I may meet a person who has an interesting quality or habit, and I will form a character with the same trait, while inventing other aspects."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

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

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 2006, Maggie Hommel, review of Call Me Henri, p. 23.

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; May 15, 2006, review of Call Me Henri, p. 520.

Library Journal, June 1, 2002, Mary Margaret Benson, review of Soy la Avon Lady, and Other Stories, p. 199.

School Library Journal, August, 2006, Carol A. Edwards, review of Call Me Henri, p. 123.

Washington Post Book World, October 1, 2006, Elizabeth Ward, review of Call Me Henri, p. 8.

ONLINE

Curbstone Press Web site,http://www.curbstone.org/ (July 20, 2007), interview with López.

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