Chicano Literature Professor Rolando Hinojosa-Smith Wins National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award

The National Book Critics Circle has honored Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, an author and professor in the departments of English and Spanish and Portuguese at The University of Texas at Austin, with the 2013 Ivan Landrof Lifetime Achievement Award. He will receive the award during a ceremony March 13 in New York City.

The award is given annually to a person or institution that has made significant contributions to book culture over time.

Hinojosa-Smith is a native of the Rio Grande Valley, the setting for his novels about life along the Texas-Mexico border. He is best known for his "Klail City Death Trip" series, which comprises 15 novels to date. The second book in the series, "Klail City," won the most prestigious prize in Latin American fiction, Premio Casa de las Américas, in 1976.

The first book in the series, "Sketches of the Valley," won the Premio Quinto Sol, for the best fictional work by a Mexican American author, in 1973.

Hinojosa-Smith described the award as "a lovely surprise."

"We in the English Department are proud of Rolando's literary achievements and delighted by this prestigious award," says Elizabeth Cullingford, professor and chair of the Department of English. "Like William Faulkner, Rolando has immortalized his 'little postage stamp of native soil,' the borderlands of the Rio Grande Valley. He has fans all over the world, some of whom have already written dissertations on his work."

An accomplished novelist, translator and essayist, the 84-year old Hinojosa-Smith is the Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of Creative Writing in the College of Liberal Arts, where he has taught for nearly three decades.

His other novels, often published in Spanish and English, include "Ask a Policeman," "The Useless Servants," "Becky and Her Friends," "Dear Rafe," and "Rites and Witnesses." Visit the Department of English website to read a QandA with the author.