According to the NEA, this fellowship provides $25,000 to published writers so they can set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement. Espinoza is one of 38 authors chosen from a field of 1,300 for artistic excellence and merit.
“Many past NEA winners are writers who I have admired over the years, so it’s incredibly humbling to be joining their ranks,” Espinoza said. “The financial reward is great but, more importantly the faith and encouragement the NEA Fellowship has given me and my work is uplifting.”
Espinoza is the author of two novels published by Random House, “Still Water Saints” in 2007 and “The Five Acts of Diego León” in March 2013. His fiction has appeared in several anthologies and journals. His essays have been published at salon.com and the New York Times Magazine, and he has written reviews for the Los Angeles Times, the American Book Review and NPR’s All Things Considered.
In addition to teaching literature and creative writing in the Department of English, Espinoza is the interim chair of Chicano and Latin American Studies and a member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College faculty.
Born in Tijuana, Mexico, Espinoza was raised in Los Angeles and earned a master’s degree in writing at University of California, Irvine. He is deeply involved with the Puente Project, a program designed to help first-generation community college students make a successful transition to a university.
The NEA is an independent federal agency that funds and promotes artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. In December the agency announced that it had awarded 1,083 grants totaling $25.8 million to organizations and individuals in the categories of Art Works, Challenge America and Creative Writing Fellowships.