By: Allyson Mower
Happy Birthday to Rudolfo Anaya. Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima is one of my favorite books! I first read it in college and am grateful to my American Studies professor who assigned it along with a range of diverse American authors from Anaya to Leslie Marmon Silko and Louise Erdrich. Bless Me, Ultima is often challenged because of objections to profanity and religious content. I’ll never understand these challenges because the story is so engrossing and compelling. Anaya’s pioneering authorship introduced readers to engaging aspects of contemporary Chicano culture, a world that I can’t imagine not ever becoming familiar with. The owl, the moon, the river, and the people of New Mexico make for rich connections, deep complexities, and very enjoyable reading.
President George W. Bush awarded Anaya with a National Medal of Arts in 2002. And former First Lady Laura Bush listed Bless Me, Ultima as a highly recommended book. Anaya has an extensive literary body of work with books, plays, and children’s stories. The National Endowment for the Humanities recognized Anaya’s work with its National Humanities Medal in 2015. His most recent novel The Sorrows of Young Alfonso was published in 2016.
Allyson Mower, MA, MLIS is Head of Scholarly Communication & Copyright at the University of Utah Marriott Library. She’s very curious about curiosity, what drives people to uncover information, and how libraries of all types create demand for knowledge. As a tenured faculty member, she researches the history of academic freedom — a kind of intellectual freedom — and the history of authorship and scholarly communication at the institution. She provides the U of U community and the general public with information, tools, and services related to both copyright and publishing. Allyson was a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2008, was nominated as a 2012 Society for Scholarly Publishing Emerging Leader, and served as the U of U Academic Senate President in 2014. Find her on Twitter @allysonmower.