Rudolfo Anaya's novel Bless Me, Ultima turns 40 this year, and if that's not enough reason to celebrate, the film version of the novel is scheduled for release in 2012 as well. Just last month Anaya received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the L.A. Times and declared the book as "the most widely read and critically acclaimed novel in the Chicano literary canon."

For all of these reasons and more, the UNM Department of English and University Libraries sponsors a reading marathon of Bless Me, Ultima on Monday, April 23, in the Willard Reading Room of Zimmerman Library. The event begins at 8 a.m. with a student, faculty or staff member reading the first page of the novel, and it concludes at about 5 p.m. when Rudolfo Anaya reads the last page. The reading will be followed by a reception.

The Center for Southwest Research will have a collection of Anaya's papers—including manuscript pages from Bless Me, Ultima—on display.

Forty-eight readers will take the podium throughout the day, and those who stop in to listen will have the chance to sign up for hourly door prizes—books, book bags, signed Edward Gonzales posters, gift certificates and free dinners at participating restaurants.

The 48 folks who read the novel aloud will each be asked to raise a minimum of $25 in pledges, with all money raised going to endow the Rudolfo Anaya Scholarship Fund in the English Department.

For more information and to sign up to read, email to Submit your name, contact information and preferences for reading time.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: