Biography

Promo photo ColorTim Z. Hernandez is an award winning poet, novelist, 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).”

Most recently, Hernandez was one of four finalists for the inaugural Freedom Plow Award from the Split This Rock Foundation for his work on locating the victims of the plane wreck at Los Gatos. 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 at UCLA 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.

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.

11 responses to “Biography

  1. Tim–I had the local library order “All They Will Call You”. Great book! I was disappointed and a bit confused to see that they had classified it as a fiction book. Doesn’t seem that way to me!

    • Dan, thank you for your generous comments. Sometimes bookstores and libraries will take it upon themselves to shelf the book where they see fit, rather than follow the Library of Congress cataloguing data, where it is listed as “Creative Non-fiction.” Thank you again!

  2. Mr Hernandez, I can’t wait to read your book, I just heard about it today on cspan.
    I had heard the song deportee when I was in high school back in 70 ‘s and I never forgot the song or the opinions expressed in it. I’m so happy on the work you have done to honor these hard working people, who were ignored by almost everyone leaving a bearly visable trail for you to follow. I think in these times is the perfect time for your book. I’m sure it will show the true value that these humble people brought with them to this country. Anyway thank you again for the book, and more info on a story that’s been on and in my mind for decades. True book lover j.s.taylor

  3. Tim,
    LOVED “All They Will Call You”. Library ordered it for me (and their shelf). Enjoyed your research and reaching out to the victims’ families. The song has haunted me since I first heard Pete Seger perform it in the mid 70’s. Any plans on updating on your website as you encounter more families? Thanks again, for a great read!
    Michael Cuslidge
    Corvallis, MT

  4. Tim – Dan let me know when he was checking it in so I could get it before anyone else got it. I loved it! It was a moving experience to read it and sort of put a face on the names. I really admire and appreciate all that you did for the memory of those that died. I don’t think I had the opportuntiy to meet you but I used to be in a group with Dan and we played Plane Wreck at Los Gatos regularly. We often closed with it – always an emotional experience. Thanks again for your work in putting it all together!!

    Doug Coppock

  5. Hola Dan, Do you have an email list? Would love to know when you are reading again in the Bay Area. Thanks!

  6. I just reread “Manana Means Heaven” for the second time and found it just as compelling. However, THIS time I also pulled out Kerouac’s “On The Road” and read the pages he’d written about “Terry” the Mexican girl. I found his descriptions so shallow and coarse, compared to yours. I also found discrepancies in a few areas. It will always appear to me, that he dismissed her so freely and easily. I too have spent thousands of miles on the road and published my memoir in 2014, “Queen of the Road.” So I know the lure of the road. But Kerouac will be forever diminished in my view. Thanks again for your wonderful accounting and for finding Bea Franco.

  7. Hello Tim my 6th grade daughter is doing a history paper on the Braceros and on our research we came across the song and you. The song your book and the information really touched us. She can wait to read the book. Thank you !

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