Author Demetria Martínez to receive UCSB’s Luis Leal Literature Award

SANTA BARBARA — Poet, novelist, and journalist Demetria Martínez is the recipient of UC Santa Barbara’s 2011 Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature, the university reported in a media release.

The award will be presented during a ceremony at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27, in the campus’s Corwin Pavilion. The event is free and open to the public.

Martínez is best known for her novel, “Mother Tongue,” which received a Western States Book Award for Fiction. The book focuses on Central American refugees entering the United States during the 1980′s, and the role of the sanctuary movement in providing assistance to people the U.S. government refused to recognize as legitimate political refugees.

The book is based, in part, on charges of conspiracy against the U.S. that were leveled against Martínez in connection with two Salvadoran refugees smuggled into the country. Her 1988 trial ended with a not guilty verdict.

“Demetria Martínez is a voice of liberation against oppression, whether personal or social,” said Mario T. García, professor of Chicana and Chicano studies and of history at UCSB, and the organizer of the annual Leal Award.

Martínez is also…

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