2015 Book Fair Authors

Ella deCastro Baron is a second generation Filipina American born in Oakland and raised in Vallejo, California. Ella earned a BA in English Literature from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. She is a full-time wife and mother of three children, a part-time English and Creative Writing instructor at San Diego City College and Brandman University, and an 'other'-times writer published in Fiction International, Sunshine Noir, Lavanderia, Mamas and Papas, CityWorks Literary Journal as well as co-editor of the anthology, Hunger and Thirst. Ella hopes to continue being a witness to her ethnic upbringing, her faith, her interracial family, and how it all may or may not fit together. Ella's first book, Itchy, Brown Girl Seeks Employment, published by CityWorks Press in 2009, was a finalist for the San Diego Book Awards.

José Héctor Cadena is a writer, poet, and collage artist, who grew up along the San Ysidro/Tijuana borderlands. José earned his B.A. in English with a minor in Spanish and Chicana Chicano Studies at San Diego State University and his M.F.A. from San Francisco State University.

He has appeared as a guest panelist on “Track 21: Tijuana en el Arte” and as a featured poet at Poe-Ti-Sa Sexta Edición: Poesía Chicana at Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT). The writer has also been featured in San Francisco’s Litquake, The Reader’s Cafe at Fort Mason, Tijuana’s Happening Poetic Tic Tic , and more.

Cadena’s works explore identity, sexuality, family dynamics, and the balance between the human condition and the human experience. His poetry, art, and short stories can be found in Raices y Mas: An Anthology of Young Border Voices, Los Bilingual Writers: Book IV, Synesthesia, Shackled: Pacific Review 2012, The Velro Reader 2, Cipactli, Men’s Heartbreak Anthology, Underground: The Anthology, La Bloga and his self-published chapbook: Here, Have a Slice . Cadena teaches at San Diego State University, San Diego City College, and Southwestern College.

Justin Akers-Chacón is an assistant professor of Chicana/o studies at San Diego City College. He is co-editor and a contributing author for Wounded Border/Frontera Herida: Readings on the San Diego /Tijuana Region and Beyond. In addition, he is co-author of No One is Illegal with Mike Davis (Haymarket, 2006) ; a contributing author to Immigration: Opposing Viewpoints (Greenhaven, 2004); and a columnist for the progressive magazine Media Project . His articles have appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Miami Herald, Sacramento Bee , and other newspapers. .

Reyna Grande is an award-winning novelist. Her latest book, The Distance Between Us , is a memoir about Grande’s experiences before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States. A National Book Circle Critics Award finalist, The Distance Between Us is an inspirational coming-of-age story about the pursuit of a better life. The Los Angeles Times hailed it as “the Angela’s Ashes of the modern Mexican immigrant experience.”

Reyna’s first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains , received a 2010 Latino Books Into Movies Award, a 2007 American Book Award, and the 2006 El Premio Aztlán Literary Award. dANCEZ second novel, Dancing with Butterflies , was critically acclaimed and was the recipient of a 2010 International Latino Book Award. Both novels have been read widely in schools across the country and have been published internationally.

Grande earned a bachelor of arts degree in creative writing and film and video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She later received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. More Info:

Dr. Leilani Grajeda-Higley

Born in Tampico, Mexico to a Mexican mother and a Chicano father who was filled with racial self-hatred, Dr. Leilani Grajeda-Higley has earned degrees in nursing science and psychology. She has also served as a nurse therapist in psychiatric facilities in San Diego.

In addition, Grajeda-Higley has an M.F.A in creative writing and taught writing and literature in the Chicana/o Studies Department at San Diego State University.

The author of a book, Understanding Pharmacology , she also edited Raíces y Más: An Anthology of Young Border Voices . It is a world-class collection of stories and poems by students at SDSU. A work in progress, The Power Dynamic: The Force That Drives Our Behavior , is her memoir/essay on power and dominance in relationships.

Manuel Paul López is the author of The Yearning Feed (University of Notre Dame Press) which won the 2013 Ernest Sandeen Prize. He has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His first book, Death of a Mexican and other Poems, was published by Bear Star Press in 2006 and was awarded the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize.

The author’s work has been published in Bilingual Review, Hanging Loose, Puerto del Sol, Rattle, and ZYZZYVA , among others. He has new work forthcoming in Denver Quarterly and Vlak Magazine: Contemporary Poetics and the Arts . The writer was born and raised in the U.S.-Mexican border region of El Centro, California, and received degrees from the University of California, San Diego and San Francisco State University.

Angel Sandoval

was born and raised in Brawley, California (colloquially referred to by La Raza as “Brole”). He received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University. Now he teaches at Imperial Valley College and San Diego City College. His poetic manuscript — Shades of Brown: Thoughts of A YoungMexicanAmericanChicano — was published by alternaCtive publiCactions , a web-based press whose website is hosted and supported by the UC Merced Library. In addition, alternaCtive publiCations has published his most recent work, a children’s story titled, The Road to Quetzalcóatl . View and download Angel Sandoval’s work for free at —

An anthology produced by City Works Press, Sunshine Noir II: Writings from San Diego and Tijuana features fiction and non-fiction from local, regional, national, and international authors in addition to art and photography. Local writers include students from City College. This volume is among more than 20 books released by City Works Press, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

VAMP (Visual/Audio Monologue Performance) features readings by City College student writers who have attended workshops and received coaching from So Say We All under the direction of Justin Hudnall. Founded in 2009, So Say We All is a literary and performing arts non-profit organization whose mission is to create opportunities for individuals to tell their stories, and tell them better, through three core priorities: publishing, performance, and education