Tim Z. Hernandez is an award winning poet, novelist, research scholar, and performance artist. His debut collection of poetry, Skin Tax (Heyday Books) received the 2006 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, and the James Duval Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation. His debut novel, Breathing, In Dust (Texas Tech University Press) was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, and went on to receive the 2010 Premio Aztlan Prize in Fiction. His second collection of poetry, Natural Takeover of Small Things was released in 2013 and received the 2014 Colorado Book Award, and his novel, Mañana Means Heaven, which is based on the life of Bea Franco, also released in 2013, went on the receive the 2014 International Latino Book Award in historical fiction. Both books are with the University of Arizona Press. His latest book, All They Will Call You, was released on January 28, 2017, also with the University of Arizona Press. A genre bending work labeled a Documentary Novel, it is based on the song by Woody Guthrie, “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee).” This book is part one of what will eventually become “The Plane Crash Trilogy,” a project that he considers his life’s work.
Most recently, Hernandez was honored by the California State Senate in a recognition ceremony that took place at the state capital on January 29, 2018. The ceremony included the families of the victims of the plane crash at Los Gatos, as well as folk icon Joan Baez. That same year he was the recipient of the 2018 Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/a Letters. As a performer he has collaborated with Grammy Award winning classical composer Eugene Freisen, and in 2001 was commissioned by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to write and perform an original play on homelessness. Since 2007, he has worked with Poets & Writers Inc. and the California Center for the Book teaching poetry, fiction, and non-fiction workshops across the west coast. From 2010-14 he was the state-wide coordinator for Colorado Writers-in-the-Schools with focus on rural, under-served communities. He is a frequent guest artist at Universities, cultural institutions, and literary centers across the United States and internationally. He recently completed a new manuscript of poetry, and is currently at work on the second installment of the “Plane Crash Trilogy.”
Hernandez holds a B.A. in Writing & Literature from Naropa University and an M.F.A. from Bennington College in Vermont. He is currently a full-time Assistant Professor in the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program.