Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Ana Castillo  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1953 in Evanston, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Ana Castillo on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Castillo was born and raised in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

When Anna Castillo was nine years old, she wrote her first poems following the death of her grandmother. She is a writer, poet, editor and educator and also cofounded the literary magazine Third Woman. Ana Castillo now lives in New Mexico.

Published Works

  • Zero Makes Me Hungry, Scott, Foresman, 1975
  • I Close My Eyes to See, Washington State University Press, 1976
  • Otro Canto, Alternativa Publications, 1977
  • Women Are Not Roses, Arte Publico, 1984
  • The Mixquiahuala Letters, Bilingual Press, 1986
  • My Father Was a Toltec, Poems, West End Press, 1988
  • Sapogonia, Bilingual Press, 1990
  • So Far From God, Norton, 1993
  • Loverboys, Norton, 1997
  • Peel My Love Like an Onion, Anchor, 2000
  • I Ask the Impossible: Poems, Random House, 2001
  • Psst--I Have Something to Tell You, Mi Amor:, Wings Press, 2005
  • Watercolor Women, Opaque Men: A Novel in Verse, 2005
  • The Guardians,Random House, 2007

Selected Titles At Your Library

Women are not roses /
ISBN: 093477028X. OCLC Number:

. .

The Mixquiahuala letters /
ISBN: 0385420137. OCLC Number:

. .

Focusing on the relationship between two strong and fiercely independent women-Teresa, a writer, and Alicia, an artist-this epistolary novel, written as a tribute to Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch, examines Mexican and Latina forms of love, gender conflict, and female friendship--Cover.

My father was a Toltec and selected poems, 1973-1988 /
ISBN: 140003499X. OCLC Number:

Anchor Books,. New York :. 2004.

Presents lyrical, streetwise, frequently autobiographical poems, some in English and others in Spanish, including a new, never before published work.

My father was a Toltec and selected poems, 1973-1988 /
ISBN: 0393313549. OCLC Number:

Norton,. New York :. ©1995.

Ana Castillo has a deserved reputation as one of the country's most powerful and entrancing novelists, but she began her literary career as a poet of passion and uncompromising commitment. This collection brings back into print the best of her early work, including selected poems from The Invitation and Women Are Not Roses and the entire text of her landmark 1988 collection, My Father Was a Toltec. Whether invoking her origins as the daughter of a street warrior, a member of the Toltec gang in Chicago, or defining her own lyrical positions on a variety of social, political, sexual, and esthetic issues, Ana Castillo's poetic voice is unmistakably her own - and will be immediately recognizable to the lovers of her fiction.

Sapogonia :
ISBN: 0385470800. OCLC Number:

Anchor Books,. New York :. 1994.

Castillo focuses on the complex issue of the internal civil war faced by peoples of mixed blood as she caputres the struggle of Maximo Madrigal and his obsession for Pastore Ake, a woman he can never hope to control.

So far from God :
ISBN: 0393326934. OCLC Number:

W.W. Norton,. New York :. ©1993.

Tome is a small, outwardly sleepy hamlet in central New Mexico. In Ana Castillo's hands, though, it stands wondrously revealed as a place of marvels, teeming with life and with all manner of collisions: the past with the present, the real with the supernatural, the comic with the horrific, the Native American with the Hispano with the Anglo, the women with the men. With the talkative, intimate voice and the stylistic and narrative freedom of a Southwestern Cervantes, the author relates the story of two crowded decades in the life of a Chicana family. The mother, Sofia, holds things together in the years following the disappearance of her husband Domingo (he of the Clark Gable mustache and the uncontrollable gambling habit). Then there are the daughters: Esperanza, Chicana campus radical turned career woman and television news reporter; Caridad, a nurse who dulls the pain of being jilted with nightly bouts of alcohol and anonymous sex. Fe, the prim and proper bank employee in constant quest for the good life; and la Loca, whose "death" and subsequent resurrection at age three have left her strange and saintly and attuned to higher spiritual frequencies. Ana Castillo's triumph in So Far from God is to weave the mundane and the miraculous, the modern and the archaic, and the tragic and the humorous into one rich novelistic fabric. Hers is a homegrown magical realism, leavened with sly commentary. Controlled anger, and a distinct feminist point of view of the world and the cosmos. Of all the marvels in this book, and there are many, the greatest is the achievement of its creator.

Loverboys :
ISBN: 0393331679. OCLC Number:

W.W. Norton,. New York :. 2008, ©1996.

Love and lust among Latinos--men, women, straight, gay and lesbian. The exception is Vatolandia, in which the heroine decides she would rather be lonely than go out with worthless men.

Peel my love like an onion :
ISBN: 038549677X. OCLC Number:

. .

A novel on a plucky flamenco dancer in Chicago. It follows her from her rise to fame despite a crippled leg from polio, to her descent as the polio returns, her two lovers abandon her and she is reduced to working in a sweatshop. But Carmen will recoup.

I ask the impossible :
ISBN: 0385720734. OCLC Number:

Anchor Books,. New York :. 2001.

A collection of poems covering the author's commitment to social justice, the sensual world, and the strength of women, six of which are written in Spanish with English translations.

Psst-- I have something to tell you, mi amor :
ISBN: 0916727203. OCLC Number:

Wings Press,. San Antonio, Tex. :. 2005.

Watercolor women, opaque men :
ISBN: 1931896208. OCLC Number:

Curbstone Press,. Willimantic, CT :. 2005.

"Urged on by the gods of the ancients, the heroine, known only as "Ella" or "She," narrates stories that illustrate what it means to be a marginalized brown woman or man at the threshold of the 21st century. Ella's life interweaves with those of others whose existences are often neglected, even denied, by society's status quo."--Back cover. A novel in verse.

The Guardians :
ISBN: 0812975715. OCLC Number:

Random House Trade Paperbacks,. New York :. 2008, c2007.

"From American Book Award-winning author Ana Castillo comes a suspenseful, moving novel about a sensuous, smart, and fiercely independent woman. Eking out a living as a teacher's aide in a small New Mexican border town, Tía Regina is also raising her teenage nephew, Gabo, a hardworking boy who has entered the country illegally and aspires to the priesthood. When Gabo's father, Rafa, disappears while crossing over from Mexico, Regina fears the worst. After several days of waiting and with an ominous phone call from a woman who may be connected to a smuggling ring, Regina and Gabo resolve to find Rafa. Help arrives in the form of Miguel, an amorous, recently divorced history teacher; Miguel's gregarious abuelo Milton; a couple of Gabo's gangbanger classmates; and a priest of wayward faith. Though their journey is rife with challenges and danger, it will serve as a remarkable testament to family bonds, cultural pride, and the human experience"--Back cover.


Her awards include an American Book Award for The Mixquiahuala Letters ,the Carl Sandburg Award, a Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in fiction and poetry. In 1998 she was awarded the Sor Juana Achievement Award by the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in Chicago. In 2006 she was winner of the Independent Publisher Story Teller of the Year Award.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)


Ana Castillo P.O.B. 1405 Anthony, N.M. 88021


Anne Edelstein Literary Agency LLC 20 West 22nd St. Suite 1603 New York, NY 10010 212 414 4923