what happened last thursday: Ana Castillo at UC Berkeley

last thursday i went to a reading at uc berkeley featuring ana castillo. i’ve always been a big fan of her work–so it was an honor to see her. there was quite a nice turnout–and lots of friends were there, including poets javier huerta, oscar bermeo, & barbara jane reyes. i liked castillo’s reading overall…tho it was hard to hear at times because she was holding the mic in her hand and sometimes it would drop too low. the work she read was ok–some short shorts from a chapbook & then excerpts from her newest novel, which felt mixed in terms of quality.

the question and answer period was awful tho. castillo was kinda flippant–she answered the first question saying that she doesnt really answer questions about her books. wtf. what was kinda annoying also was that she had some chapbooks for sale… $40 apiece! seriously, selling a chapbook for $40 at a university reading! give me a break.

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4 thoughts on “what happened last thursday: Ana Castillo at UC Berkeley

  1. Hey Craig, yeah I thought it was odd and a little off-putting that in this Latino/a student filled venue, she announced that she didn’t talk about her work. I think if this is the case, then maybe not doing a Q&A at all would have been sensible.

    As for the $40 chapbook, I agree that (again) in the student filled room, this isn’t the best product to try to sell.

    Apart from those two things, I agree with you that the work was uneven in quality; as we discussed, some of the novel excerpt sounded more like character study that lends itself to the novel writing.

    1. “castillo was kinda flippant–she answered the first question saying that she doesnt really answer questions about her books.”

      –That’s odd. She answered pretty throughly to her interviewer in 2008, Aishih Wehbe-Herrera. Check it: http://acentosreview.com/September_2008/Webhe-Herrera.html

      Maybe it’s a “public talk” fear type of thing? How did they set up the Q&A? I wonder why so flippant. Sometimes writers answer questions combatively because they feel automatically that they’re in a room full of combative folk. Sometimes they get pissed about the organizational end behind the scenes, for one reason or another (the audio setup would have pissed me off), and are already bristly when they come out. I’m supremely curious about this considering she was in a roomful of Latinos.

      1. thanks for the link rich! that is a fantastic interview! wow.

        well, it seemed well organized and good audience w/good intro. i dunno.

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