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Ana Castillo: 1953—: Novelist, Poet, and Essayist Biography

Became Disillusioned With Art Studies, Inspired By Telenovelas, Story Published In Usa Today

Emerging from the ferment of radical Chicano thought that shaped her ideas as a student in the 1970s, Ana Castillo was long known as a writer who was vigorously critical of the dominant Anglo-American mainstream and who worked to create alternative visions of what American society could become. "I was a Chicana protest poet, a complete renegade—and I continue to write that way," Castillo told Publishers Weekly. Yet by the beginning of the 21st century, Castillo's sheer gift for storytelling had brought her a substantial popular readership. Leaving the academic world, where she had made a living for much of her adult life, Castillo began to write full-time in the 1990s.

That storytelling bent, Castillo has said, had roots in her Mexican-American family background. Castillo was born in Chicago on June 15, 1953; her parents came to Chicago from the southwestern U.S. "I've written since I was very little," Castillo told Melus. "I wrote poetry and wrote stories and drew on whatever I could, painted on whatever I could—anything, any piece of paper that was around." Nevertheless, her parents did not encourage her creative impulses, steering her toward a common path at the time for verbally inclined young Latinas—she was sent to secretarial school."I'm a lousy typist and I've always had this aversion to authority, so I knew that I wouldn't get far in that atmosphere" she told Melus.

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