June 6, 2008

Solana Beach Reads features award winning book: The Devil’s Highway

Solana Beach Reads – a month long one-book, one-city project presented by Friends of Solana Beach Library features award-winning author Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway. The project features a wide array of scheduled special events and activities relating to the book: film showings, book discussions, an art exhibit, panel discussions, and an evening with the author.

“We are excited about presenting our first ever community-wide reading program for our town,” Friends president Mary Jane Boyd said. “We invite our residents to read the book, participate in related activities which are designed to promote reading, discussion and dialogue about themes and issues relevant to our community,” she added.

The Devil’s Highway, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, has been called a work of grave beauty and searing power—one of the most widely praised pieces of investigative reporting to appear in recent years. The story follows twenty-six men who in May 2001 attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadly region known as the Devil’s Highway, a desert so harsh and desolate that even the Border Patrol is afraid to travel through it. Urrea tells the story of this modern odyssey, unsentimentally but with compassion, revealing how a simple political boundary manages to scramble the basic humanity of all whose lives it divides and defines.

The Devil’s Highway examines the border from many different points of view. The writer puts a human face on the lost walkers, and discovers the humanity in the Border Patrol agents. It explores the complexity of the border and immigration issue, the discussion of which often produces more heat than light.

About the Author: The critically acclaimed author of 11 books, Luis Alberto Urrea is an award-winning poet and essayist. He won the 2004 Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for The Devil’s Highway. The writer uses his dual cultural life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. Born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea graduated from UCSD, and did graduate work at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The Devil’s Highway was selected as one of the best books of the years by the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Arizona Republic and the Chicago Tribune

Schedule of Events for Solana Beach Reads:

June 10 Tues at 6:30 pm at the Library – Discussion of The Devil’s Highway led by Roni Seay, League of Women Voters

June 17 Tues at 6:30 pm at the Library - Panel Discussion on Fences and Borders: The Immigration Quandary. Moderator: Amy Isackson, KPBS Border Reporter. Panelists: Peter Nunez, former U.S. Attorney; Ruben Navarrette, San Diego Union-Tribune Columnist; Tomas Jimenez, Professor of Sociology, UCSD; Luawanna Hallstrom, Co-Chair, Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform.

June 21 Sat 6:30 pm at La Colonia Community Center - El Norte. Bilingual discussion of film and similar issues raised in The Devil’s Highway, led by Racquel Shantal

June 26 Thurs 7:00 pm at the Library – Evening with Author Luis Urrea – Discussion of the book, book signing, followed by a reception for the author

June 30 Mon 7:00 pm – at The Book Works, Flower Hill Promenade. Book discussion led by Lisa Stefanacci

Art Exhibition at the Solana Beach Library May 15-June 30, 2008: Living Under the Trees – Photographs by David Bacon, Oakland and Berkeley-based writer, photo-journalist who explores issues of labor, immigration and international politics. His work has been exhibited nationally, in Mexico, the U.K., and Germany

All events are free and open to the public.

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