When reading Rudolfo Anaya’s works, it was clear he found joy in noticing every detail around him. It was this revelry in life and his gift as a writer that allowed him to present a loving picture of New Mexico to the world.
The acclaimed author and playwright died Sunday in Albuquerque at the age of 82. He will be missed by those who enjoy literature as well as by the many students he touched directly as their professor at the University of New Mexico.
Anaya is best known for his 1972 tale of growing up in New Mexico, “Bless Me, Ultima,” for which he was awarded the prestigious Premio Quinto Sol award. The tale was eventually made into a play and a feature-length movie.
He went on to write dozens of books that included a mystery series, children’s tales and collections of short stories and poetry. In 2015, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.
Anaya once said, “I’m thoroughly New Mexican. I grew up there. … to understand me, you have to understand me in the context of New Mexico.”
His heartfelt stories confirm that.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.