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Best of the National Book Festival: Luis Alberto Urrea, 2018

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Welcome to our ongoing celebration of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Each weekday, we will feature a video presentation from among the thousands of authors who have appeared at the National Book Festival and as part of our new year-long series, National Book Festival Presents. Mondays will feature topical nonfiction; Tuesday: poetry or literary fiction; Wednesday: history, biography, memoir; Thursday: popular fiction; and Friday: authors who write for children and teens. Please enjoy, and make sure to explore our full National Book Festival video collection!

The Fiction stage of the 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival welcomed Luis Alberto Urrea to discuss his novel “The House of Broken Angels.” NPR arts correspondent Mandalit del Barco interviewed Urrea, who is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He is also a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist.

During the interview, Urrea tells Barco that “The House of Broken Angels” began as a tribute to his deceased brother Juan. “I had siblings who were not in the home, and so Juan was the big brother from that group,” he says. “Juan was in Tijuana, and he never let go of his grip on me, even though I was gone. He believed in me. And I don’t know that I believed there was any hope for me whatsoever. I came out of this hopeless world, right?” Q&A begins at 31:40.

The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival will celebrate its 20th birthday this year. You can get up-to-the-minute news, schedule updates and other important festival information by subscribing to this blog. The festival is made possible by the generosity of sponsors. You too can support the festival by making a gift now.