Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Kathleen Alcalá (Bainbridge Island) is the author of the short-story collection Mrs. Vargas and the Dead Naturalist and three novels set in nineteenth-century Mexico: Spirits of the Ordinary, The Flower in the Skull, and Treasures in Heaven. She has received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, the Governor’s Writer’s Award, the Western States Book Award, the Washington State Book Award and the Centro Cultural Hispano Americano Quimbaya Award among others. She is a co-founder and contributing editor to The Raven Chronicles, and she has been a Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico and a writer-in-residence at Richard Hugo House and Seattle University. Her work has been adapted for both radio and theatre, and two of her novels have been translated into Spanish and Dutch. The Desert Remembers My Name: Family and Writing is her first work of nonfiction, which earned First Place in the Autobiography/Memoir in English category of the International Latino Book Awards. Alcalá holds a BA in Human Language from Stanford University as well as an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. She was born in Compton, California to Mexican parents and currently lives on Bainbridge Island.

Kathleen received 1989 and 1991 GAPs, plus a 1995 Fellowship.

As part of her Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Kathleen visited Heritage University in Toppenish. Kathleen spoke about the writers’ life, read an essay from her recent collection, The Desert Remembers My Name – On Family and Writing, and answered questions from students and faculty. A majority of the approximately 38 students were Mexican or Native American. One of the many faculty present, Professor Bertha Ortega emphasized the need for successful role models for the young women in the Yakima Valley, such as Kathleen. Not only did Kathleen leave a lasting impression on her students, she also left a gift to the Heritage University: a complete set of her hardcover books.

Artist’s Addenda: Kathleen was featured in the April 2008 issue of Seattle Woman magazine.

View blog post on Kathleen.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.