Juan Felipe Herrera is the son of Mexican migrant workers and is an accomplished writer who has been honored with National
Endowment for the Arts grants (1980, 1985), the American Book Award (1987), four California Arts Council grants, the UC Berkeley
Regent's Fellowship, the Breadloaf Fellowship in Poetry and the Stanford Chicano Fellows Fellowship. His publications include
thirteen collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and picture books for children in the last decade
with nineteen books in total His poetry and essays have appeared in both small presses (Bilingual Press and Curbstone) as
well as mainstream publishing concerns (University of Arizona Press and Vintage). His works have been translated to Spanish
by Mexico's most important publisher, the Fondo de Cultura Economica. Other translations include German and Serbo-Croatian.
For his literary endeavors, Herrera has garnered the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Americas
Award, the Focal Award, the Pura Belpré Honors Award, the Smithsonian Children's Book of the year, the Cooperative Children's
Book Center Choice, the IRA Teacher's Choice, the LA Times Book Award Nomination, the Texas Blue Bonnet Nomination, the New
York Public Library outstanding book for high school students and two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards. Born in Fowler, California,
a small town southeast of Fresno, Herrera traveled with his parents on the seasonal crop circuit, eventually settling in the
San Diego area at the age of eight. Upon graduation from San Diego High School in 1967, he was awarded a federal Educational
Opportunity Grant and went on to UCLA, earning a B.A. in social anthropology. While at UCLA, Herrera became interested in
the performance work of Luis Valdez's El Teatro Campesino, and subsequently formed his own theatre group, Teatro Tolteca.
In 1970, with funding from UCLA's Mexican American Center, Herrera traveled to Mexico to study indigenous theatrical expression.
The combination of "teatro and the journey through Mexico changed my [his] life forever", and Herrera returned invigorated
with a new sense of identity and purpose. His first major work, Rebozos of love we have woven sudor de pueblos on our back,
appeared in 1974, and in 1977 he was accepted into Stanford University's graduate program in anthropology, earning an M.A.
in 1980. Herrera's restless spirit, however, continued to find more creative outlets in poetry. His Exiles of Desire appeared
1983, a thematic collection exploring the darker side of urban existence, followed in 1987 by Facegames and Akrilika in 1989.
With his literary career on the rise, Herrera enrolled in the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop in 1988, attaining the
status of fellow with the distinction of Excellence in 1990. Awarded an M.F.A. in creative writing that same year, he joined
the Department of Chicano and Latin-American Studies at California State University-Fresno. Throughout the 1990s, Herrera
continued to produce collections of poetry in addition to his teaching load of creative writing and theater production. In
1995, Calling The Doves / El Canto De Las Palomas, poetry based on Herrera's childhood experiences in the farming fields of
California was released, which brought Herrera into third and fourth grade classrooms across the United States both in print
and in person. The fate of indigenous people as they succumb to the pressures of modernization was the subject of his 1997
release Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of America, the result of Herrera's continuing quest to examine identity
and culture in the crosscurrents of post-colonial Mesoamerica. He has three forthcoming books and is currently producing "The
Twin Tower Songs," a San Joaquin Valley performance memorial on the September 11th tragedy and writing for the PBS television
series "American Family." Mr. Herrera is a board member of the Before Columbus American Book Awards Foundation and the California
Council for the Humanities. Promoted to Full Professor in 1998, Herrera was elected to the Chair of the Department. Of Chicano
and Latin American Studies at California State University-Fresno in 2001.