Anthology Reveals Latino's Literary Diversity

Local author Daniel Olivas edits Latinos in Lotusland, which spans 60 years of writing

Published on LatinoLA: May 29, 2008

Anthology Reveals Latino's Literary Diversity

The Bilingual Press is proud to announce the release of "Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature." Spanning 60 years of writing, the anthology vividly portrays complex and entertaining characters that bring to life the diverse and soulful communities that comprise Southern California, from East L.A. to Malibu, from Hollywood to the San Fernando Valley, from Venice Beach to El Sereno.

Daniel A. Olivas, the anthology's editor and an award-winning author of four books, came up with the idea for the collection about three years ago. "I grew frustrated with the constant barrage of imagery that portrayed Southern Californians as chronically superficial and greedy, concerned only with the movie industry. We are far more interesting than that. I wanted fiction readers to encounter the incredible diversity that is the heart of Los Angeles and surrounding communities."

Olivas is one to know. A native of Los Angeles and the grandson of Mexican immigrants, he has a litany of accomplishments on his r?®sum?®. A deputy attorney general (specializing in environmental enforcement and land use) with the California Department of Justice by day, he is also the author of four books and is a book critic for the El Paso Times, MultiCultural Review, and other publications.

Determined to provide readers with a more representative assortment of literature, Olivas sought out authors he knew could contribute meaningful and entertaining stories that would capture imaginations and broaden horizons. Literary luminaries such as John Rechy, Luis Rodriguez, and Helena Maria Viramontes signed on, as did up-and-coming authors such as Reyna Grande, Alex Espinoza, and Victorio Barrag?ín.

Their collective efforts introduce us to a wide variety of memorable characters: A Cuban-American screenwriter trying to pitch the "real" story behind the Bay of Pigs fiasco; a Mexican woman struggling with barrio life who believes she's seen a miracle; youths grappling with gang life; drunken folkl??rico dancers; successful curanderos; teenage slackers; aimless druggies; college students; and even a private detective hot on the heels of a presumed-dead gonzo writer. We encounter young and old, gay and straight, rich and poor, newcomers and old-timers. This landmark anthology is sure to be treasured for its powerful and mesmerizing tales.

Olivas and other contributors are available for readings and signings. Upcoming events include appearances at Somewhere Else Coffeehouse and Bookstore in El Cajon on May 3, at Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver on May 21, at the Bilingual Press booth at BookExpo America at the Los Angeles Convention Center on May 31, at the prestigious Patricia Correia Gallery in Santa Monica that evening, at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena on June 13, and at the West Hollywood Book Fair on September 28.

Bilingual Review Press has been publishing works by or about Hispanics since 1973. Most titles are written in English, but the press also offers bilingual and Spanish-only titles. Since its founding, the press has focused on publishing works of weight and significance. It is committed to publishing high-quality writing by established and emerging writers. In addition to new works, the Press produces classics of Chicana and Chicano authors under its Cl?ísicos Chicanos/Chicano Classics imprint.

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