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Nicolás Kanellos: 1945—: Publisher, Editor

Founded Arte Público

From the beginning of his academic career, Kanellos was moved by the need for greater recognition of Hispanic authors. In a quote published on Arte Público's website, he said, "In the early 1970s, it became obvious that Hispanic writers were not being published by the mainstream presses.… Because there was no outlet for creative efforts of these Latino writers, their work was condemned to be forgotten, lost or just delivered orally through performances." To bring these works to a greater public, Kanellos founded the literary quarterly Revista Chicana-Riqueña in 1972. This publication later was renamed The Americas Review, which won critical recognition from the New York Times, Small Press Review, and many other national publications. The quarterly also won citations of achievement from the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines in 1986 and 1987. The Americas Review released its final issue in 1999.

At a Glance . . .

Born January 31, 1945, in New York, NY; son of Charles and Ines (de Choudens Garcia) Kanellos; married Cristelia Perez, 1983; children: Miguel Jose. Education: Fairleigh Dickinson University, B.A., 1966; University of Texas at Austin, M.A., 1968, Ph.D., 1973.

Career: Founder, Revista Chicano-Riquena (now Americas Review), 1972; Indiana University Northwest, assistant professor, 1973-79; faculty member at University of Houston; founder, Arte Público Press, University of Houston, 1979–.

Memberships: American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese; National Association of Chicano Studies; Modern Language Association.

Awards: Calouste Gulbenkian fellowship for study and research in Portugal, 1969-70; Eli Lilly Fellowship, 1976; Outstanding Editor Award, Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines, 1979; National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1979; induction into Texas Institute of Letters, 1984; Ford Foundation/National Research Council fellowship, 1986-87; White House Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature, 1988; American Book Award, 1989; appointed to National Council of the Humanities, 1994; Excellence in Research and Scholarship Award, University of Houston, 2001.

Meanwhile, in the midst of a teaching career at Indiana University, Kanellos launched Arte Público Press as a further means of showcasing Hispanic literary achievements. The press was founded in 1979 to publish both contemporary works and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors. When Kanellos was offered a faculty position at the University of Houston in 1980, the university invited him to take the press with him to Texas. He accepted, and since then Arte Público and its imprint, Piñata Books, have operated out of the University of Houston.

Arte Público, the oldest and largest publisher of Hispanic literature in the United States, now publishes 30 titles each year. In 1992 the press launched a project called Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage, a national program to locate, preserve, index, and publish the literary contributions of Latino writings dating from the colonial era through 1960 in the area that now comprises the 50 states. The program, which Kanellos directs, coordinates several print and electronic projects, including the U.S. Hispanic Bibliographic Database Project, which will compile and publish all available information on U.S. Hispanic authors and literary works, and the U.S. Hispanic Periodical Literature Project, which will compile and publish all known contributions made by U.S. Hispanic writers to periodicals from colonial times through 1960.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dan Jacobson Biography - Dan Jacobson comments: to Barbara Knutson (1959–2005) Biography - PersonalNicolás Kanellos: 1945—: Publisher, Editor Biography - Founded Arte Público, Began Publishing Children's Books, Supported Latino Theater, Anthology Hailed As Landmark Achievement