Proyecto Latina Features Xenia Ruiz

It’s February and I’m counting down the days until the next Proyecto Latina Reading Series. There is nothing like being in a room of fierce and fabulously talented ladies that gives me a creative jolt. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of them and watching them thrive! One of these women is writer Xenia Ruiz this month’s feature.

Monday, February 21, 2011 @ 7pm

Proyecto Latina Reading Series – FREE @ Catedral Café

2500 South Christiana

Chicago, IL 60623

Street parking / #60 Blue Island Bus

Remember to get there early and sign up for the open mic and bring your chismes for the chisme box!

Xenia will be reading excerpts from her published books Choose Me (novel); Boricua Morena: Memoirs of a Humboldt Park Girl (collection of essays, poetry & short stories); and soon-to-be published manuscript In the Picture I Have of You reflecting her Afro-Latino perspective. Xenia also has a wonderful blog the chronicles her journey as a writer.

As a first-generation Puerto Rican American, Xenia’s work documents the Afro-Latino perspective and experience, a segment of the Latino Diaspora that is often overlooked in all aspects of mass media, but particularly in literature.

Through her writing, she wants to show readers who may have misconceptions about Latinos in general, that they are nothing like the caricatures portrayed in the media or in books. No one in her family was ever a gang member, drug dealer or prostitute. But then again, none of them attended Ivy League colleges, or became the doctor/lawyer clichés that symbolize success. It is that larger segment of Latinos that is not one extreme or the other, but in the middle, which she wants to bring to the forefront.

Xenia Ruíz was born in Chicago and grew up in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, where she was educated in Chicago public schools. As a child, she spent hours in her room reading books and filling notebooks with words she could not speak in an effort to escape the world around her. Hers was not a horrible childhood but she always felt like she was born at the wrong time and to the wrong family. Because the characters in books did not look like her–dark-skinned and Latino–she was drawn to African-American literature.

She graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s in sociology and a minor in writing. She is the recipient of the First Prize Golden Pen Award in Northwestern University’s 59th Annual Iota Sigma Epsilon Fiction Contest. Her novel, Choose Me was published in 2005 by Warner Books/Walk Worthy Press.

In 2006, she self-published Boricua Morena: Memoirs of a Humboldt Park Girl, a collection of essays, poetry and short stories. In 2007, she received a master’s in higher education leadership from Northeastern Illinois University. Her second novel, In the Picture I Have of You, is currently under consideration for publication.

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