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New York Times best-selling author speaks at UNT
H. Drew Blackburn
Senior Staff Writer
Alisa Valdes, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and New York Times best-seller, spoke to a small informal group of students, faculty and fans about her life and career as a writer Tuesday night in the Business Leadership Building.
She came to support her memoir, “The Feminist and The Cowboy,” which chronicles nine months of a relationship she was in for three years.
After earning her master’s in journalism from Columbia University, Valdes said that The Boston Globe offered her a minority fellowship.
“It was one year at the Globe and one year at the smaller feeder papers,” she said. “And then you’re out of a job.”
She explained that the fellowship offered minority journalists an opportunity to gain two years worth of clips at The Boston Globe, but they were let go afterwards.
“They never had a minority long enough in the paper to rise to a position of power,” Valdes said.
She refused the fellowship and asked for a permanent position, which they gave to her.
Valdes resigned from her job at The Los Angeles Times, because over the course of her career at numerous newspapers, she said she felt news coverage was unjust – especially with Hispanics.
That sparked her transition into writing fiction.
“The only place I’ll be able to tell the truth – my truth – is in fiction,” she said.
Pre-RTVF sophomore Mallory Hagmann came to Valdes’ discussion hoping to learn something.
“I’m a writer and I’m actually trying to write a script that has romance in it,” she said. “I was trying to make it life-like and interesting, and I was hoping she might say a little bit about that.”
Hagmann said that she had not heard of Valdes before reading an email sent from the university, but Evelyn Moa, a senior manager in Dallas, made her way to Denton to see Valdes.
“She’s very big in the Latina community,” she said.
Moa said she found out about the discussion from the Sunday edition of Dallas Morning News. Since being introduced to Valdes’ work in 2003, Moa said that she has read most of Valdes’ books.
“The Feminist and The Cowboy” is the first nonfiction book Valdes has published.
Valdes hopes to turn her first novel “The Dirty Girls Social Club” into a feature film, and she’s started a nonprofit organization, the Latino Literacy Initiative.