Valpo’s Wordfest welcomes novelist, short story writer Lucrecia Guerrero

Reflecting on her childhood growing up in Arizona, author Lucrecia Guerrero read excerpts from her writings, Thursday, March 26, 2015 in the Brauer Museum of Art.

Students gathered at the Brauer Museum of Art to hear a reading by author Lucrecia Guerrero on Thursday, March 26.  Guerrero’s writing is influenced by Mexican-American culture.

“My first book of short stories, they all took place on the border and they were all Mexican-American characters, so I don’t know, its just what’s natural,” said Guerrero.

This incorporation of culture brought its own challenges.

“When I grew up on the border we would mix Spanish and English and I wanted to get that flavor when I write about people on the border, but I didn’t want to put so much in there that I would lose people if they didn’t understand what I was talking about,” said Guerrero.

The inclusion of culture was something students appreciated about Wordfest.

“I thought it was interesting how she talked about her backgrounds and how she works her ethnic background into her writing,” said Rebecca Greaney, a sophomore English and public relations double major.

Students appreciated how culture was incorporated into the work.

“She also incorporated not only her ethnicity into her writing but her background, as in what she found important, where she grew up, and she kind of reflected that into her writing,” said Greaney.

Students noted how Guerrero didn’t just discuss her culture at the event, but managed to incorporate it in her work.

“I think it’s great when people can incorporate their culture into their writing and, you know, kind of get themselves within the book without actually putting themselves as people in the book,” said junior English major Jordan Bires.

Guerrero noted that literature does say something personal about the writer.

“You do expose yourself because people see what you care about by what you write and how you think,” said Guerrero.

Students did not need to be familiar with Mexican-American culture to appreciate the event, and many found the experience an opportunity to learn something new.

“I thought it was interesting because it was a culture I am not familiar with,” said sophomore English major Emily Dolata. “It’s interesting to learn about because its completely different from your own.”

Wordfest adds to the overall campus culture at the university and provided students a different opportunity.

“Through the characters that she was writing about, I think her reading and being here definitely promotes diversity on our campus, so I think that’s important for people to realize that there are diverse programs going on and that everyone is welcome to come to them and just broaden their horizons,” said Greaney.

Even though Guerrero is writing about a specific culture, readers from all backgrounds can relate to her work.

“No matter how diverse it seems on the surface, there are these same issues that keep coming up: the relationships, and vulnerability, love and all of these things are still there, so we’re all really pretty much alike underneath it all,” said Guerrero.

Students also appreciate the inclusion of culture in literature.

“I think, especially for writers in general, being able to acknowledge specific areas of  the world and bringing those into your  text, and kind of acknowledge culture as something  important in text is beneficial to writers,” said Bires.

Contact Maria Bruno at torch@valpo.edu.

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