Rudolfo Anaya (1937-2020)

Writer Rudolfo Anaya, 82, died June 28, 2020 at home in Albuquerque NM after a long illness. Anaya was a major Chicano writer, best known for his debut Bless Me, Ultima (1972), adapted as a film in 2013. His work occasionally had genre elements, notably in his Sonny Baca mystery series: Zia Summer (1995), Rio Grande Fall (1996), Shaman Winter (1999), and Jemez Spring (2005). Mystery Curse of the ChupaCabra (2006) and sequel ChupaCabra and the Roswell UFO (2008) also have speculative elements. Other works of interest include The Legend of La Llorona (1984) and Lord of the Dawn: The Legend of Quetzalcóatl (1987). He also edited anthologies, wrote books for children, and was a playwright.

Anaya was born October 30, 1937 in Pastura NM and grew up in Santa Rosa and Albuquerque. He attended the University of New Mexico, earning a BA in 1963, a masters degree in English in 1968, and another masters in guidance and counseling in 1972; he later taught creative writing there. From 1963-68 he taught English in public high school. He and his wife Patricia Lawless (married 1966) ran a retreat for beginning writers in Jemez Spring NM. Anaya received a National Humanities medal in 2016. He was predeceased by his wife in 2010, and is survived by their children and grandchildren.


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