Tim Z. Hernandez is an award winning author, research scholar, performer, and professor. His debut collection of poetry, Skin Tax received the 2006 American Book Award, and the James Duval Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation. His debut novel, Breathing, In Dust was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, and went on to receive the 2010 Premio Aztlan Prize. His second collection of poetry, Natural Takeover of Small Things received the 2014 Colorado Book Award, and his novel, Mañana Means Heaven, went on the receive the 2014 International Latino Book Award in historical fiction. His latest book, All They Will Call You, is a genre bending work of non-fiction 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. For this work he was awarded the coveted Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano Letters by the University of Santa Barbara in 2018.
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. 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 collaborated with Poets & Writers Inc. teaching creative writing workshops across the west coast, and from 2010-14 he was the state-wide coordinator for Colorado Writers-in-the-Schools with focus on rural, under-served communities, incorporating creative writing in curriculums grades K-12. He is a frequent guest artist at Universities, cultural institutions, and literary centers across the United States and internationally.
Hernandez holds an M.F.A. from Bennington College in Vermont, and a B.A. in Writing & Literature from Naropa University, the first accredited Buddhist University in the United States. He is currently an Associate Professor in the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual M.F.A. in Creative Writing program, and he lives on the frontera with his two children.