Flores will teach a series of four fiction workshops

Tumblewords Project workshops are held on Saturdays from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. at El Paso Public Library-Main Branch, 501 N. Oregon, El Paso. The workshops are free, but donations are encouraged for the presenter.


Carlos Nicolas Flores will present four workshops, collectively titled Confessions of a Native Son: Four Workshops on the Writing of Fiction,” for Tumblewords Project in July 2019.


July 6                          “In Search of Ghosts in Paso del Norte”


Flores will read a selection from his short story “Yellow Flowers,” after which participants will write in response. Flores plans to also discuss characterization in terms of setting, ghosts versus demons, and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s lessons on writing the “new novel.”


July 13                        “Why Don’t You Write Something Positive?”


Flores will read a selection from Our House on Hueco, a YA novel, followed by participants writing and reading aloud in response. Flores plans to mention history as character, the silenced “self,” and the enduring presence of Octavio Paz in Chicano literature.


July 20                        “A Trivial Satire for Serious Readers”


Flores will read a selection from Sex as a Political Condition, a Border Novel, followed by the participants writing and reading aloud. Flores hopes to address the writing of political satire, ideology as protagonist and antagonist, and the “the cultural wars” on the Mexican-American border.                                                                                                              


July 27                        “Work-in-Progress, Existentialism, and Future Landscapes”


After reading a selection from The Pillars of Creation, a work-in-progress, participants will write and read aloud in response. There will be mention of writing the short novel as long-term strategy, the search for the post-modernist God amid the cartel wars, and Hart Crane’s influence on border literature.


A native of El Paso with a master's degree in English from the University of Texas at El Paso, Flores teaches English at Laredo College. In the '70s, his decision to teach a course on Black and Chicano literature led to a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at Dartmouth College, where he embarked on a study entitled "A Chicano Looks at a Black: A Comparison and Contrast of Chicano and Black Literature."


In 1977, with a grant from the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines, he established the Revista Rio Bravo.  Rudolfo Anaya, Cecilio Garcia Camarillo, Reymundo "Tigre" Perez, Alurista, Angela de Hoyos, and Carlota Cardenas de Dwyer are a handful of the writers interviewed or published during the magazine's two-year stint. In 1989, a year's sabbatical provided Flores time to live and travel in Mexico as well as work on a collection of short stories, which later morphed into a novel entitled Friend of a Minor Poet.


In 1990 the short story “Black and White” won second place in a fiction contest sponsored by the City of Albuquerque's Cultural Achievement Project and Mesa Azul Review. In that same year, another story, "Cantina del Gusanito," won first place in the Sixteenth Chicano Literary Contest sponsored by the University of California at Irvine. Flores's stories have been anthologized in Passing Through: An Anthology of Southwestern Writers (Santay Publishers), Cuentos Chicanos (UNM Press), Pieces of the Heart (Chronicle Books), Texas Short Fiction: A World in Itself, Vol. I. (Ale Publications), North of the Rio Grande: the Mexican American Experience in Short Fiction (American Library), and others.


Friend of a Minor Poet was a finalist in the 2002 Mid-List First Series Award for the Novel and a quarter finalist in a 2003 contest sponsored by Florida Community College at Jacksonville's First Coast Writers' Festival.  In 2003, a second novel, Sex as Political Condition, won third place in the 29th Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Irving, California, and was published by Texas Tech University Press (TTUP) in 2015. In 2006, Our House on Huecoa—a 2006 ForeWord Book of the Year Award, Silver Winner in the Juvenile Fiction—was published by TTUP.


Currently, Flores is finishing The Pillars of Creation, a novel about a gifted but rebellious young Chicano in search of God amid the cartel wars on the Texas-Mexico border. This year his essay “Mexican Bandit or the Last Bandido: Ilan Stavans’s Notorious Raid on the Chicano Literary Canon” will appear in an anthology of critical essays, Stavans Unbound, edited by Bridget Kevane and published by Academic Studies Press. 


Tumblewords Project workshops are held on Saturdays from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. at the main branch of the El Paso Public Library, 501 N. Oregon, El Paso. The workshops are free, but donations are encouraged for the presenter.


For more information call (915) 328-5484 or email tumblewordsproject@yahoo.com.


Founded by poet Donna J. Snyder in 1995, Tumblewords Project is a grassroots, not-for-profit weekly series of free writing workshops founded with seed money from the New Mexico Arts Division, and originally met in San Miguel, New Mexico. Shortly after the first workshops, Snyder moved to El Paso and began presenting workshops in Segundo Barrio.


Tumblewords presenters have included Denise Chávez, David Romo, Roberto Rodríguez, Bobby Byrd, Amit Ghosh, Robin Scofield, Mónica Gómez, Dr. Emma Pérez, Sasha Pimental, Luís Urrea, and many more, from throughout the United States and Mexico, as well as Cuba, Chile, Peru, Jamaica, China, and Hungary.


Tumblewords relies completely on volunteer efforts. They have also published two anthologies, Mezcla: Art and Writing from the Tumblewords Project