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Chicana Author To Share Testimony During Book Reading

April 26 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Acclaimed LGBTQ+ author Emma Pérez will read from her new book, Testimony of a Shifter, at Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005) at 6:30 pm Friday, April 26, 2024. This fascinating speculative narrative delving into gender transmutation and discrimination has been lauded by Booklist as the “queer, feminist dystopian novel readers [fans of Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Atwood] have been searching for.”

Imprisoned by the totalitarian government, Dr. Benito Espinoza practices for his weekly interrogations by recounting his story to his thirteen-year-old daughter. He tells her about turning his back on his ability to shift his gender from male to female—to Alejandra—to become a scholar in the Grand Library. Most academics are Residents who inherited their seats and believe Descendants like Ben don’t have the intellectual ability to be a person of letters. Ben conforms to the laws against transmuting, so he manages to secure a place in the library. His life’s purpose is to prove Descendants are as capable as Residents. But an encounter with a clever, beautiful Descendant leads to his unwitting participation in the rebellion against the Impresario and his White Guards. Soon the shifter is involved with the Rebels, trying to save a younger generation of Descendants and shifters from the horrific experiments and violence perpetrated against them.

“The kernel of Testimony of a Shifter came to me in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was elected,” Pérez recently told Arte Público Press. “That night, I had a nightmare, and in that nightmare brown and black people and marginalized people were being rounded up by these guards dressed in white and placed in prisons. That stuck with me, and I began to think about what that would mean, that kind of dystopia.” Speculative fiction really lends itself to the exploration of issues including gender, race and racism and class and classism, Pérez said. “I wanted to keep that kernel, to continue to explore that in a piece of fiction where people are rebelling against totalitarian governments and rebelling against those who are oppressing and repressing them,” she said.

Pérez will sign books after the reading.

EMMA PÉREZ is the author of numerous books, including Testimony of a Shifter (Arte Público Press, 2023), Queering the Border (Arte Público Press, 2022) and The Decolonial Imaginary: Writing Chicanas into History (Indiana University Press, 1999). Her novel, Forgetting the Alamo, Or, Blood Memory (University of Texas Press, 2009), received the Christopher Isherwood Writing Grant, the National Association for Chicana/Chicano Studies Regional Book Award for fiction in 2011 and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards in 2010.  Her book, Electra’s Complex (Bella Books, 2015), is a mystery that mocks the perils of academe. Pérez was born in El Campo, Texas, and lives in Tucson, where she teaches at the University of Arizona.

ARTE PÚBLICO PRESS is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by US Hispanic authors. Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Books published under the imprint serve as a bridge connecting home and school to support family literacy and elementary education. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Latino literary arts and creativity. For more information, please visit www.artepublicopress.com.




April 26
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Brazos Bookstore
2421 Bissonnet St
Houston, 77005
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