Born October 30, 1937 in Pastura, New Mexico,Rudolfo Alfonso Anaya, was an American novelist and educator whose fiction expresses his Mexican American heritage, the tradition of folklore and oral storytelling in Spanish, and the Jungian mythical perspective.
Anayahe learned to speak English only when he started school. As a teenager, he broke his back and his recovery from that experience affected his worldview. He graduated from the University of New Mexico (BA, 1963; MA, 1968; MA, 1972) and served as a public school teacher in Albuquerque (1963–70) before becoming director of counseling at the University of Albuquerque. From 1974 to 1993 he taught at the University of New Mexico.
Bless Me, Ultima(1972); 2013 film, the acclaimed first novel byAnaya, is about a boy who grew up in New Mexico in the late 1940s and an elderly healer who changes his life.Heart of Aztlán(1976) follows the transfer of a family from rural to urban settings and faces some of the problems of Chicano workers. InTurtle(1979)Anayaexamines the emotions of a child locked in a body cast in a hospital for paralyzed children (reflecting his own experiences as a child). These three novels make up a trilogy about Hispanic children in the United States. The novelThe legend of La Llorona(1984) deals withThe Malinche, an indigenous slave who became the lover, guide and interpreter of the conqueror Hernán Cortés.
The other works of fiction ofAnayaincludeThe Adventures of Juan Chicaspatas(1985),Alburquerque(1992; the title gives the original spelling of the city name),Randy Lopez Goes Home(2011) and the novelThe Old Man’s Love Story(2013). His series of mystery novels with the Chicano private investigatorSonny bacaIt includesZia summer(nineteen ninety five),Rio Grande Fall(nineteen ninety six),Shaman winter(1999) andJemez spring(2005).
Also,AnayawroteA Chicano in China(1986), a non-fiction account of his travels; also stories, like those ofSerafina stories(2004) andThe man who could fly and other stories(2006); and various children’s books, as well as plays and poems. Defender of multiculturalism and bilingualism, he translated, edited and contributed to numerous anthologies of Hispanic writing. In 2002 he received the National Medal of Arts.