Felicia Luna Lemus
I was born on the East Coast in 1975 to two science nerds with stars in their eyes and flowers in their hair, and I was raised by an extended network of familia in the OVC (Orange Barrio, Cypress Street) of Southern California. We lived next door to the Sunkist packing house and the railroad tracks, and I spent many an afternoon bouncing a handball against the old-school cholo murals that adorned the streetside wall of my great-grandparents’ little neighborhood store. That beginning has defined everything about who I am. I have hippie-dippy Technicolor dreams, crave pan dulce each morning and feel most at home in the urban borderlands where nopales and concrete meet.
My first novel, Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003; Seal Press, 2004), was described by The San Francisco Chronicle as “bursting at the seams with pizazz and invention.” Kirkus Reviews called it “A spry debut from a writer who’s got the skills,” and Library Journal added “Lemus is a truly talented storyteller. Highly recommended.” My second novel, Like Son (Akashic Books, 2007), was a 2008 Ferro-Grumley Award Finalist. Booklist called it a “powerfully written chronicle of love,” Publishers Weekly said “Lemus doesn’t waste a word in this smart novel,” and Latina Magazine declared it a “must read book.”
My writing has appeared in anthologies including Lengua Fresca: Latinos Writing on the Edge and Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and other Quinceañera Stories, as well as in magazines such as BOMB and ZYZZYVA. I have taught writing at The New School and the UCLA Writers’ Program; I am currently Associate Faculty at Antioch University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. I graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Irvine (1997), earned an MFA in Writing from the California Institute of the Arts (2000), and I am currently working toward a Master of Education (M.Ed) and a Credential at UCLA. By fall 2011, I hope to be teaching 1st grade in a community much like the one I grew up in.
Sharpened #2 pencils, mountain wildflowers and strong coffee are among my favorite things. I live in Northeast Los Angeles with my partner, our two dogs, two cats, countless hummingbirds, lizards and hawks (yes, it is a happy zoo).