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 the first installment of The Plane Crash Series, 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 various troupes, theater ensembles, and artists, and has performed in spaces such as Theaterwork in Santa Fe, Dixon Place in NYC, and The Getty Center in Los Angeles, and in 2001 he was commissioned by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to write and perform an original one-man show on homelessness. He’s lent his poetry and voice to music albums, performing and recording with acclaimed musicians, such as jazz legend and composer, David Amram, latin jazz/ hip-hop group 40 Watt Hype, folk rocker Johnny Irion, bluesman Lance Canales, and Grammy Award winning classical composer Eugene Freisen.
Since 2007, he has worked with Poets & Writers Inc. teaching creative writing 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 The Plane Crash Series.
Hernandez holds a B.A. in Writing & Literature from Naropa University, the first accredited Buddhist University in the United States, and an M.F.A. from Bennington College in Vermont. He is currently a full-time Associate Professor in the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program.