Pioneering Latina Writer
In this video
Sandra Cisneros on how she found her voice as a chicana writer, despite all odds.
Sandra Cisneros is a Mexican-American novelist, poet, and short story writer. Her books include The House on Mango Street, Caramelo, and Woman Hollering Creek. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as a Macarthur “Genius” Grant.
Cisneros was born in Chicago in 1954, the only girl among seven siblings. The family shuttled between Chicago and Mexico City before finally settling in the area of Chicago known as Humbolt Park, a neighborhood that would later provide inspirations for The House on Mango Street.
Cisneros began writing as a teenager, serving as the editor of her high school’s literary magazine. She went on to study English literature at Loyola University in Chicago before earning her Master or Fine Arts at the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop.
In addition to her novels, books of poetry and short stories, Cisneros has also taught writing at nearly every level from grade school to graduate school. She has also been a visiting writer at several universities including the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
The first female Mexican-American writer to have her work published by a mainstream publisher, Cisneros has seen her books translated worldwide and The House on Mango Street remains required reading in middle schools, high schools, and universities across the country.
More From Sandra
Cisneros says that having her name recognized by everyday people gives her the most satisfaction.
Aspiring to a Big Butt
Cisneros expresses dismay that Latina role models have come down to Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez for their rear ends.
First Apartment Victory
Cisneros recounts the moment someone else finally understood what it meant for her to have her own apartment as a single Latina.
Why Art Matters
Cisneros on how art can transform people's lives and heal old pain.
A Universal Connection
Cisneros explains why people from so many cultures seem to connect to "The House on Mango Street."
A Moment of Clairvoyance
Cisneros describes her inner certainty about the ultimate success of her first novel.
Cisneros shares the lesson she hopes young people take from "The House on Mango Street."
Finding a Path, One Step at a Time
Cisneros on how she found her path in life only being sure of her most immediate next step.
Finding a Career
Cisneros remembers the moment she realized she wanted to be an author when she grew up.
Writing the Unspoken
Cisneros says that the best material comes from what's left unspoken.
The Danger of Beauty
Cisneros recalls the sad downside of being a beautiful girl.
A Father's Love
Cisneros recognizes the power fathers have to raise strong daughters.