BORDER BOOK FESTIVAL
FEATURED WRITER AND ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES
Denise Chávez is a novelist, short story writer, playwright, actor, teacher and performance writer based in Las Cruces and Mesilla, New Mexico. She has roots in Far West Texas with her mother's family and in Las Cruces, New Mexico with her father’s family has learned to love life, literature and tacos in both places.
A true child of La Frontera, Chávez is the author of the recent memoir, A Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture and the novels Loving Pedro Infante, Face of An Angel, as well as a short story collection, The Last of the Menu Girls. She has published a children’s book, La Mujer Que Sabía El Idioma de Los Animales/The Woman Who Knew the Language of the Animals. Chávez is author of many plays and is an actor who performs her one-woman shows, Women in the State of Grace and El Muro/The Wall: A Chorus of Immigrant Women’s Voices, throughout the U.S.
Currently Chávez is working on various projects including a novel, The King and Queen of Comezón, a border mystery/love story, a collection of cuentitos, El Inglés Tan Bonito and a book, Río Grande Family, about her Sephardic Jewish roots in Chihuahua and Delicias, México.
Chávez is the Director of The Border Book Festival, a major national and regional book festival in Mesilla, New Mexico as well as the Cultural Center de Mesilla, the festival’s bookstore and home base which brings literature, literacy and storytelling to people of all ages and backgrounds in the border corridor of southern New Mexico, West Texas and Northern México.
Chávez continues to explore the universal in the regional landscape and support her community through education, empowerment and transformation through the arts. She is the winner of various awards including: The 2005 Don Luis Leal award in Chicano Literature given by the City of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Book Festival, University of California Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College, as well as the New Mexico Governor’s Award in Literature, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, and The American Book Award.