U.S. Latino Writers on the Move
The reception of Viramontes's work validates Martinez's assertion. In 1995 she was awarded the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature "for her use of places and characters that are distinctly American, yet are not usual or stereotypical in American fiction; the amazing variety and experimentalism of her individual works of fiction; and, above all, the stunning unity of each work, with word and idea, image, symbol, and theme all woven into a seamless whole." A native of East Los Angeles, Viramontes, who studied with Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Schindler's List (1993) author Thomas Keneally, credits her mentors with reinforcing "my increasing admiration for the power of imaginative renderings of worldviews . . ."
Viramontes currently teaches at Cornell University, where she continues to add to her already considerable output of essays, screenplays, and literary fiction. At present, she is at work on several projects, among which is her second novel, Their Dogs Came with Them (1996).