Award-winning author Juan Felipe Herrera will be the featured speaker at Angelo State University’s 18th annual Writers Conference in Honor of Elmer Kelton on Thursday, Feb. 20, in the Houston Harte University Center, 1910 Rosemont Drive.
The annual conference, which focuses on fiction, poetry, nonfiction and drama, is open free to the public and will be held in the University Center’s C.J. Davidson Conference Center.

The program will include “A Conversation with Juan Felipe Herrera” at 3:30 p.m. conducted by Dr. Wallis Sanborn, an assistant professor of English at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio and a former ASU faculty member.  A presentation and public reading by Herrera will follow at 7 p.m., and there will be book signings after both events.

The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera has published 29 books, including poetry, prose, plays, children’s books and young adult novels.  He is known for chronicling the lives of Mexican-Americans – their struggles and achievements and their contributions to American culture and the American scene.  Poet laureate of California, his awards include a PEN/Beyond Margin’s Award and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for the poetry collection Half of the World in Light (2008).  He has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Friends of Children and Literature (FOCAL) Award and Ezra Jack Keats Award for his bilingual memoir, Calling The Doves/El Canto De Las Palomas (2001).

Herrera holds a Bachelor of Arts in social anthropology from the University of California-Los Angeles, a Master of Arts in social anthropology from Stanford University and a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from the University of Iowa.  He teaches creative writing at the University of California-Riverside, and is a recipient of the University of California-Berkeley Regents Fellowship.

More information about Herrera and his writing is available on his website,

The annual ASU Writers Conference is named for author Elmer Kelton, who died in 2009. He is the author of more than 40 books, including The Time it Never Rained, The Man Who Rode Midnight and The Good Old Boys, and was the first Distinguished Visiting Professor at ASU.  He was a seven-time winner of the Western Writers of America’s (WWA) Spur Award, and was named the WWA “all-time best western author.”  He also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association and the Barbara McCombs/Lon Tinkle Award from the Texas Institute of Letters.

The conference is sponsored by the university and hosted by the Department of English and Modern Languages.

For more information about the Writers Conference, contact Dr. Chris Ellery, ASU professor of English, at 325-486-6142 or go online to