"Bless Me Ultima" by Rudolfo Anaya, emeritus professor of English, is the Lobo Reading Experience title for 2010.  Incoming freshmen and current students, faculty and staff are encouraged to read the book and take advantage of fall programs to discuss it.  It will be included as a required text in many courses across disciplines. 

For other ways to be involved visit: Lobo Reading Experience.

The Lobo Reading Experience is a program targeted to freshmen, but also designed to foster a sense of academic community across the UNM campus. 

"When a significant number of faculty, staff and students engage in a common academic experience, it can transform a campus in a host of positive ways," said Provost Suzanne Ortega.

More than 20 sections of freshman classes at UNM will read and discuss "Bless Me Ultima" as part of their fall course requirements.  In addition, Communication & Journalism Professor Miguel Gandert and Spanish & Portuguese chair Enrique Lamadrid will present a photography exhibit.  Also featured will be a Vortex Theatre production based on the book.

Ortega said, "'Bless Me Ultima' was selected this year not only for its literary merit and profound depiction of New Mexican cultures, but also to coincide with a national conference celebrating ‘Latino Literary Imagination, Narrative Voices and the Spoken Word' where professor Anaya and his work will be honored. UNM's colleges of Fine Arts and Arts & Sciences, as well as the National Hispanic Cultural Center will host the event in Albuquerque on April 15-16 at UNM and at Rutgers University in New Jersey."

The aim of the conference is to cross the imagined borders that often distinguish the Latino literary landscapes of the northeast from those of the Chicano southwest, and in so doing, aims to measure the climate of the contemporary U.S. Latino literary imagination," said Brian Herrera, assistant professor, UNM Department of Theatre and Dance.

Anaya's book, published in 1972, is a novelistic account of a New Mexican boyhood.  Creative writers and scholars argue that that "border crossings," bilingualism and biculturalism, set U.S. Latinos apart from the literary and artistic mainstream, creating a distinctive Latino contribution to the American literary tradition through the meanings, forms and histories expressed in Chicano/Latino literature. It is the goal of the Lobo Reading Experience to explore these contributions and grow as an academic community through shared engagement.

Media contact: Karen Wentworth (505) 277-5627; kwent2@unm.edu