New Mexico Landscape
New Mexico ©Author Adventures

Rudolfo Anaya, Godfather of Chicano Literature and New Mexico Icon

Rudolfo Anaya (1937-2020), known as the godfather of Chicano literature, is the namesake of a public library in Albuquerque, as of 2018. Read about it here: https://abqlibrary.org/RudolfoAnaya.  This small community-focused library is located at 7704-B 2nd Street, NW, and offers digital and print services, along with meeting rooms available on a reservation basis. Named for the author, it would be a great place to potentially find some of the dozens of books he published, either by loan or through their Friends of the Library sale. Albuquerque has a population of approximately 560,000.

Anaya spent most of his life in New Mexico and became its best known contemporary author, beginning in the late 20th century. Read more about the author here: https://www.neh.gov/about/awards/national-humanities-medals/rudolfo-anaya.

“After graduating from Albuquerque High in 1956, he earned a bachelor’s degree in literature from UNM in 1963 and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling in 1972. Mr. Anaya was a guidance counselor at APS for seven years and eventually became an English professor at UNM. His most famous book, ‘Bless Me, Ultima,’ has been one the most widely read and critically acclaimed books in contemporary Chicano literature for decades. Rudolfo Anaya is most widely known for his books, ‘Bless Me, Ultima,’ ‘Heart of Aztlan,’ ‘Alburquerque’ and ‘Tortuga.’ His children’s books include ‘The Farolitos of Christmas’ and Roadrunner’s Dance.'”  — BernCo District 1 News

In 2015, he won the prestigious National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment of the Humanities. He was also a vocal advocate for literacy.

“When people ask me where my roots are, I look down at my feet, and I see the roots of my soul grasping the earth. They are here… in the Southwest.” — Rudolfo Anaya

The Rudolfo Anaya North Valley Public Library is the third stop on the New Mexico Author Adventures Trail. Be sure to check its website for hours open at https://abqlibrary.org/RudolfoAnaya.

Patricia Smart