February 2, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.--The writer Luis Urrea will read from his work at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at Amherst Books (8 Main St.). Sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center and the Scott Turow Fund, the event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Urrea is the critically acclaimed author of nine books of fiction, poetry, memoir and journalism. His most recent book, The Devil's Highway (2004), is the best-selling account of a group of Mexican men who died while attempting to cross the Sonoran desert into the United States in May 2001. The Miami Herald describes the book as "a politically austere account of the tragedy that he calls 'the big die-off, the largest death event in border history.'" The Los Angeles Times calls the story "nothing less than a saga on the scale of the Exodus and an ordeal as heartbreaking as the Passion - 'a savage gospel of the crossing,' as Urrea puts it."

Urrea has received many honors, including an American Book Award, entry into the Latino Literature Hall of Fame and a 2004 Lannan Literary Award.

He was born in Tijuana and now lives with his family in Chicago, where he is associate professor of English at the University of Illinois.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. More information is available at the center's Website, www.amherst.edu/~cwc.