Victor Villaseñor
Writer
Born: Carlsbad, California

The author of fiction and nonfiction, including the best-selling Rain of Gold, Victor Villaseñor has attained international recognition for his searing insights into the discrimination that Latinos encounter in the United States.

I spoke no English when I started school, and within a week in the American school system, I became ashamed of my parents and my culture. School was a disaster for me.

Raised in a family of comfortable means on a 166-acre ranch in Oceanside, California, Villaseñor spoke only Spanish until he started school. After years of frustration with language barriers, discrimination, and undiagnosed dyslexia, he dropped out of high school in his junior year. An extended stay in Mexico changed his life, and Villaseñor finally experienced pride in his Mexican heritage. Reading James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man convinced him that the pen was mightier than the sword.

I became a writer to save my soul.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Victor Villaseñor, writer. Photograph by Celia Alvarez Muñoz, taken at the Villaseñor ranch, Oceanside, California

 

Back in California, supporting himself as a construction worker, Villaseñor produced nine novels and 65 stories over 10 years, receiving more than 265 rejections before his first novel, Macho, was published in 1973. The Los Angeles Times compared Macho to the best work of John Steinbeck, a comparison that has been applied to many of his other works.

I want to leave a body of work that's wonderful and inspires people. I'm not just a Chicano writer, or a Mexican writer I'm a writer as universal as Shakespeare or Confucius.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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