Albuquerque City Hall calls Rudolfo Anaya the “godfather of contemporary Chicano literature,” a ground-breaking author and professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico whose work not only evokes images of local landscapes, but also the humble Latino world of rural and urban New Mexico.
The city pays tribute to Anaya by inscribing his name on the Albuquerque Wall of Fame Tuesday. He becomes the wall’s second honoree at a ceremony at the Alvarado Transportation Center at 1st and Central at an 11: 30 a.m. ceremony.
“Our Wall of Fame honors people of achievement who have contributed positively toward making our community better,” said Mayor Richard Berry. “Rudolfo Anaya, through his descriptive narratives, has positively opened up Albuquerque and New Mexico to the world.”
Anaya was born Oct. 30, 1937, in Pastura, not far from Santa Rosa in eastern New Mexico. He moved to Albuquerque at a young age and attended public schools. In 1963, he received a bachelor’s degree in English from UNM, and five years later earned a master’s degree, also in English. In 1972 he earned a second M.A. from UNM, this one in guidance and counseling.
For seven years beginning in 1963, Anaya taught in Albuquerque public schools. He joined UNM’s English Department faculty in 1974 and remained there until his retirement nearly two decades later.
But he is best known as the author of highly acclaimed Chicano literature, particularly his 1972 classic, “Bless Me, Última.” Other works include “Heart of Aztlán,” “Alburquerque,” “Zia Summer,” “Rio Grande Fall,” “Shaman Winter” and “The Legend of La Llorona.”
He is also the librettist for an opera based on “The Legend of La Llorona.” And, two years ago, a movie version of “Bless Me, Última” was released.
Also in 2012, the Los Angeles Times presented Anaya with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The newspaper described “Bless Me, Última” as “the most widely read and critically acclaimed novel in the Chicano literary canon.” It one of countless awards he has received for his novels, short stories and poetry.
“Rudolfo Anaya’s work has brought worldwide attention to our state,” said Bruce Rizzieri, director of ABQ RIDE, the proprietor of the wall. “So now it’s fitting that we honor this literary legend with a permanent place on our Wall of Fame.”
There will be no book signings or autographs by Anaya at the ceremony due to his health.
Last year’s inductee on the Wall of Fame was Dr. George Fischbeck, “the face of science for hundreds of thousands of New Mexico’s children for 25 years with an influence so widespread, it’s estimated that by the early 1970s, 25 percent of New Mexico’s residents learned science from him either through the classroom or TV,” said Rick DeReyes, spokesman for ABQ RIDE.