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10 Great Latino Books of 2015

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Amalia Ortiz is a Tejana actor/writer/activist. She featured on three seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO, and the NAACP Image Awards on FOX. Amalia's debut book of poetry, Rant. Chant. Chisme. (Wings Press, 2015), was selected by NBC News as one of the "10 Great Latino Books." Rant. Chant. Chisme. is available now.

Amalia performed at TEDx McAllen in 2015. Amalia is the writer and composer of the Latino musical Carmen de la Calle, which has been produced in San Antonio and Dallas, and the writer and star of Cancion Cannibal Cabaret, a new work premiering in summer 2016. Amalia is also creator of Otra Esa on the Public Transit -- a powerful one-woman stage show about destination and destiny, performed at San Antonio's Guadalupe Theater and Talento Bilingue de Houston. She also stars in the award-winning independent film Speeder Kills. This high-energy film has been broadcast on SiTV and PBS. As a member of Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word, she co-wrote and performed the poetry/theater piece Fear of a Brown Planet, in San Francisco, Miami, Denver, and Houston.

She was selected as a Hedgebrook Writer in Residence and a CantoMundo Fellow, and as a recipient of an IC3 Residency at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Her poem "Women of Juarez" was published in the textbook, The Line Between Us. This outstanding grade-school publication teaches the border, immigration, and globalization. From ground-breaking publisher Rethinking Schools. Latina Magazine honored Amalia for founding, co-writing, directing, and performing in Women of ILL Repute: Refute!. Raising money for the Rape Crisis Center, it was presented at the Texas Book Festival, Young Tongues Festival, San Antonio Inter-American Book Fair, Latina Letters Conference, Austin Poetry Festival, Austin Book Festival, and many universities. Amalia is currently studying for her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.

Poetry awards include: team 2nd place at the National Poetry Slam; first Latina to reach the National Slam finals; the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Award sponsored by Sandra Cisneros; San Antonio Puro Slam MVP and 3-time champion; San Antonio Current editors' "Best Local Poet"; Open Slam Champion and Tag Team Champion (w/ Gary Mex Glazner) at Taos Poetry Circus; and winner of Ultimate Poetry Boxing Championship, 2014.

 

Amalia's poetry has been featured in literary journals and spoken word CD compilations. She performed for the First Lady at the National Book Festival in D.C. Her poetry tours include South by Southwest (twice), the Def Poetry College Tour, Slam America National Bus Tour and the documentary Busload of Poets. She coached for Brave New Voices' youth poetry camp and slam championship in San Jos?, after touring California with MadMedia/Reset Collective's What Are You Doing Tonight?.

Book Amalia to perform solo, or in Cancion Cannibal Cabaret, or with college women's group WAKE-UP, at your campus or event.