Award-Winning Woman Writer to Lecture at Texas A&M International University

A woman writer whose trek to success has been hallmarked by uncommon personal struggles and sacrifices will present a special guest lecture for students and the public at Texas A&M International University.

Jo Ann Yolanda Hernandez, author of the novel, White Bread Competition, will appear on campus Thursday, Oct. 28 at 11 a.m. in Bullock Hall 201 and from 6-8 p.m. in the same room.

Hernandez' appearance is made under the auspices of the University's student group, Women Advancing Women.

White Bread Competition (Arte Publico Press) won second prize for Best Collection of Short Stories in the 1996 Chicano/Latino Literary Contest at the University of California/Irvine. Her works have also been published in The Minnesota Review, Mobius: A Journal of Social Change and the Pangolin Papers.

Born in nearby Uvalde and raised in San Antonio, she wrote her first novel about a multi-cultural marriage when she was 16. The nun at her all-girls Catholic School sent her "straight to confession," Hernandez has said, and she did not write again for 14 years.

At the young age of 20, she married and moved to Vermont. After a 10-year marriage, the divorced mother of two went back to school at the age of 33. She earned a double major BA and moved to San Francisco to earn a MA in Creative Writing. Her first novel grew out of her works for her classes.

While her artistic goals were met with news of the UC Award, Hernandez soon found herself homeless, living in her car and suffering from physical and mental exhaustion. With the help of friends, she struggled back to security and worked to market her book with her own book tour, selling half of the book order in three months. She has since started a business, BronzeWord, which promotes writers of color.

San Antonio is the backdrop for White Bread Competition, a series of stories linked by the vivid metaphor of making tortillas. The stories explore deep and consequential themes that have earned the praise of Billie Letts, author of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club Selection, Where the Heart Is. Letts calls White Bread Competition "a fine story of family, love and tradition."

For additional information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326.2180. University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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