Ana Castillo discusses “Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me.” She will be joined in conversation by Laura Demanski.
At 57th Street Books
About the book: “Paloma Negra,” Ana Castillo’s mother sings the day her daughter leaves home, “I don’t know if I should curse you or pray for you.”
Growing up as the intellectually spirited daughter of a Mexican Indian immigrant family during the 1970s, Castillo defied convention as a writer and a feminist. A generation later, her mother’s crooning mariachi lyrics resonate once again. Castillo—now an established Chicana novelist, playwright, and scholar—witnesses her own son’s spiraling adulthood and eventual incarceration. Standing in the stifling courtroom, Castillo describes a scene that could be any mother’s worst nightmare. But in a country of glaring and stacked statistics, it is a nightmare especially reserved for mothers like her: the inner-city mothers, the single mothers, the mothers of brown sons.
“Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me” looks at what it means to be a single, brown, feminist parent in a world of mass incarceration, racial profiling, and police brutality. Through startling humor and love, Castillo weaves intergenerational stories traveling from Mexico City to Chicago. And in doing so, she narrates some of America’s most heated political debates and urgent social injustices through the oft-neglected lens of motherhood and family.
About the author: Ana Castillo is one of the most powerful and celebrated voices in contemporary Chicana literature. She is the author of “So Far from God” and “Sapogonia,” both New York Times Notable Books of the Year, as well as The Guardians, Peel My Love like an Onion, and many other books of fiction, poetry, and essays. Her newest novel, “Give It to Me,” won a 2014 Lambda Literary Award; her seminal collection Massacre of the Dreamers: Essays on Xicanisma was rereleased as a twentieth anniversary edition in November 2014; and the award-winning Watercolor Women, Opaque Men will be rereleased in a new edition in the fall of 2016 by Northwestern University Press.
About the interlocutor: Laura Demanski is the Editor of the University of Chicago Magazine.
She previously worked for the University of Chicago as editor of the College magazine, the Core, and managing editor of the literary journal Modern Philology. Laura earned her AB from Brown University and her AM from UChicago in English language and literature.