Texas Writers Month Author Interview Series: Dagoberto Gilb

author interview
Celebrating Texas Writers Month with us today is Dagoberto Gilb (Austin).

Comment by May 24 to win a copy of  Dagoberto’s funny novel, The Flowers. Increase your chances of winning by subscribing to this blog through Feedburner. Giveaway for U.S. residents only.

author interview

Gilb’s first publication was a small press chapbook out of El Paso, Winners on the Pass Line (1985), which came after he won his first literary prize, the James D. Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation. The book’s first notice was heard on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” in a review by Alan Cheuse. Gilb went on to earn more recognition, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Texas Institute of Letters’ Dobie Paisano Fellowship.

Six books later, Dagoberto Gilb’s work has been translated into French, Italian, Japanese, German, Spanish, and Dutch. Anthologized in many literary and college composition textbooks, his fiction and nonfiction is taught in Chicano, Latino, American, and Western literature courses. His work has been honored by national prizes, such as the Whiting Writers’ Award and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and recognized through the El Paso Writer’s Hall of Fame, the Library of Congress Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape, and the Texas Book Festival’s Bookend Award for Ongoing Literary Achievement.

Gilb is currently a tenured professor in the Creative Writing Program at Texas State University.

Q. Are you a native Texan or did you get here as soon as you could?

A. I’ve lived in Texas so long now I almost can’t remember. I was born in Los Angeles, but you have to understand that half of Chicano LA is a suburb of El Paso. To me, the best of LA looks like El Paso, which is where I spent most of my adult life prior to Austin, where I raised a family, and where I still wish I could live today, much as I, like everyone, love A-town.

Q. How did you end up writing fiction?

A. Probably the same way I ended up being a high-rise carpenter for 16 years and then suddenly an English professor for these last 14. God only knows how to explain these seemingly extra-terrestrial phenomena. Maybe I got electro-shock and don’t remember anything immediately before the jolt fried the juice. What I say: I write fiction as an investigative reporter for an ontological periodical (that doesn’t pay me well enough!), driven as I am to do as good a job as I can for it, pay aside, because that’s how I roll. Being from Los Angeles and the Southwest, now Texas too, my reporting comes from the far outreaches of American culture, what my east coast bosses would call the Mexican American or Chicano beat.

Q. What book marketing activities made you a bestselling author?

A. When I go to the market I like to buy the most colorful vegetables and fruits possible. Not only jalapeños and serranos, but red peppers, tomate, white onion and calabasa, squash of all sorts, and corn, broccoli. I love bananas and berries and mango and papaya and avocado—I love avocado…oh, you wrote BOOK marketing. What is that? Where is that? You see my trouble. I have no idea how I am such a bestselling author, though I know I am, because I am sure all your readers have several copies of each of my last six books.

Q. Tell us about your latest release. Is it set in Texas?

A. My latest comes out November 1 this year. Before the End, After the Beginning is a collection of stories that are set around the region I myself have lived, which is to say Los Angeles, El Paso, and Austin. It is an important book for me because, two years ago to the day I write this, I had a stroke that nearly killed me. I am still damaged, but I live on, and this book is an announcement to the celestials above and earth spirits around and beneath us that I am not finished yet. I would also hope that people look at my last book, the novel The Flowers, which I am proud of, an intimate story of an LA-like city twisting into a race riot.

Q. Where can we pay you a virtual visit?

A. I am lame at this. There is now a Facebook page just started for me. The address seems long: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Austin-TX/Dagoberto-Gilb/156371697723749
Also www.dagobertogilb.com, a page my publisher, Grove Press, has built for me.

You May Also Enjoy…

Ten Questions to Develop Your 2022 Writing Goals

Ten Questions to Develop Your 2022 Writing Goals

Ten Questions To Develop Your Writing Goals Answering the ten questions below will help you develop your writing goals. Are the questions a definitive list of what you want to ask yourself? No. Are the questions going to change your life? No, but they could change...

Amazon Quits Accepting Reader Reviews of Unverified Book Purchases

Amazon Quits Accepting Reader Reviews of Unverified Book Purchases

News Flash: Last month Amazon quit accepting reader reviews for unverified purchases. You may have seen this message when you tried to upload a review of a galley or a borrowed book. "Amazon has noticed unusual reviewing activity on this product. Due to this activity,...


  1. I would like to add Dagoberto to my list of favorite Latino authors. Before him came Sandra Cisneros, Gary Soto, and Jack Lopez. So, please throw my hat in the ring.

    — Betty

  2. This sounds like an interesting book. I have never read this author before. He has an impressive list of writing awards.

  3. i love the cover of this novel…thanks for the chance to read it…i’m a subscriber/follower, too.

  4. Does Mr. Gilb find it more difficult to write after having a stroke? Does he consider that part of his recovery process?

  5. Just added The Flowers to my “Must Read” list – thanks, Stephanie, for putting us in touch with so many great authors and new books!

  6. A few years ago I read Gilb’s collection of stories, THE MAGIC OF BLOOD. I’ve never read anything else like it. His portrayal of blue collar working men rings utterly true. Thanks for the great interview, and I’m glad to know he’s alive, well, and kicking.

  7. Thanks for letting us know about this author and book. I subscribe through feedburner.

  8. I had not heard of this author before, but I am intrigued and adding his books to my (very long) list of books to read.

    I’m a follower/subscriber.


  9. Great giveaway! I’d love to be entered.
    Please count me in. Thanks.

  10. Thanks for the recommendation, Steph! I can’t wait to get started reading Dagoberto’s books. The November release of his upcoming book sounds exciting too.

  11. Ah, is there a relation between the title and his short story “Nancy Flores”? I’ll have to check out the new book…

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This