Oscar Casares, assistant professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin, is the author of “Amigoland,” which was announced as the ninth annual selection for the Mayor’s Book Club at a press conference on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at City Hall in downtown Austin.
Casares was present during the announcement. “Amigoland” (2009, Little, Brown), set in a small Mexican border town, is the story of two estranged and aging brothers, Don Fidencio Rosales and Don Celestino. Celestino finds himself involved with his young cleaning woman, Socorro, who becomes a catalyst for the two brothers to reconnect. The improbable trio takes off on a bus trip into Mexico, where the brothers hope to settle a longstanding dispute about a family legend.
“It’s obviously nice anytime someone recognizes your work, but being selected for the Mayor’s Book Club is a special honor for me because I actually live in the city that will be reading my book,” says Casares. “As I’ve already been doing with classes on campus, I look forward to meeting with people to discuss the novel and how it was developed.”
The Austin Public Library, in conjunction with the Mayor’s office, Austin Public Library Friends Foundation and the University of Texas Humanities Institute, started its annual citywide reading campaign to develop a community experience through reading and discussion of a shared book. All of Austin is invited to read the book and then join together in special events and programs.
Copies of “Amigoland” are available at all Austin Public Library locations and at local bookstores. Mayor Lee Leffingwell will host Casares and readers at a reception and finale in late April at City Hall.
Casares joined the Department of English and the Michener Center for Writers in 2004 where he teaches creative writing. He is also author of the critically acclaimed book “Brownsville,” a collection of stories. His writing has earned him fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Copernicus Society of America and the Texas Institute of Letters.