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Sandra Cisneros

Pioneering Latina Writer

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Sandra Cisneros on how she found her voice as a chicana writer, despite all odds.

Sandra's Biography

Role Model: The Buddhist monk and writer Thich Nhat Hanh
First Paying Job: Cleaning the rectory at her church.
Favorite Children’s Author: Hans Christian Anderson
Favorite Advice: “Sorrow is an opportunity for spiritual growth.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

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.

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