AUSTIN, Texas–Dr. Amÿrico Paredes, professor emeritus at The University of Texas at Austin, will be one of two Texas authors to receive lifetime achievement awards Nov. 14 at the Capitol during the opening session for the Texas Book Festival.
The tribute to Paredes and A.C. Greene, a Texas author who has written more than 20 books on Texas and the Southwest, will be a highlight of festival activities beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the chamber of the House of Representatives, located on the second floor of the Capitol. Festival director Cyndi Hughes said UT Austin Professor Rolando Hinojosa-Smith will speak about Paredes’ contributions to literature and recording artist Tish Hinojosa will perform as part of the tribute. The program is free and open to the public.
Former President George Bush and his former national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, will speak before the tribute portion of the program to help launch the weekend of festival activities, which include readings, panel discussions, book signings and exhibits. A book-signing tent will be located near the Capitol at 12th and Colorado.
“The festival is a celebration of reading and books which benefits the public libraries of Texas,” said Hughes. Laura Bush, first lady of Texas, is honorary chair of the Texas Book Festival.
Paredes, 83, is a founder of Mexican American studies, border studies and the post-modern movement in anthropology. To recognize his lifelong contributions to literature and folklore, Paredes was awarded the Charles Frankel Prize from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Orden del Aguila Azteca (Order of the Aztec Eagle), Mexico’s highest honor given to scholars from other countries.
“As an anthropology and English professor, Paredes has taught literature, folklore and creative writing to thousands of undergraduate and graduate students. His appointment to the Raymond Dickson, Alton C. Allen and Dillon Anderson Centennial Professorship speaks to his eminence as a scholar and teacher,” said UT Austin Vice Provost Ricardo Romo.
Last year, when Paredes received The University of Texas Presidential Citation, it was noted that his seminal folklore studies in the 1940s and 1950s lay the foundation for understanding the people and culture of the Lower Rio Grande Border, inspiring an entire generation of Mexican American scholars to pursue a more intercultural interpretation of the American Southwest.
In the fall of 1997, Paredes received an award from the American Folklore Society’s Section on Latino, Latin American and Caribbean Folklore, recognizing him as “the most important and influential American Folklorist in the field of Mexican-American and Borderlands Folklore.”
In April of this year, the Austin Independent School District named a new middle school in honor of Paredes and his literary and educational contributions.
On Nov. 24, Paredes will be honored in his hometown of Brownsville. The celebration of his life accomplishments will be held at The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College campus. A concert featuring Tish Hinojosa will be held that evening to honor Paredes, with the proceeds going toward a scholarship endowment to be established in his name.
For additional information about the festival, contact Jennifer Hill, Texas Book Festival publicity coordinator (512) 477-4055, or see the festival website at http://link.tsl.state.tx.us/bookfest.
For details about the Brownsville tribute to Paredes, contact Leticia Fernandez, director of news and information at UT Brownsville, (956) 544-8231.