More About the Author
A Nicaraguan-American, Silvio Sirias is originally from Los Angeles, where he grew up until the age of eleven. His parents then moved to Nicaragua, their country of origin. This move is, without a doubt, the most significant milestone in his life as it shaped the bicultural and bilingual way in which he perceives the world. As an adolescent living in Nicaragua, he learned that Central America is full of wondrous, and often heartbreaking, stories. During those years, the realms of politics, family life, literature, and spirituality became of particular interest to him.
After graduating from high school, Sirias returned to Los Angeles to attend college. He fell in love with the study of literature and eventually received a doctorate in Spanish from the University of Arizona. For several years afterward he worked as a professor of Spanish and U.S. Latino and Latina literature. But then, just as he had earned tenure at Appalachian State University, in North Carolina, an irresistible urge to return to Nicaragua overcame him. He surrendered to the call and moved back there in 1999.
Since adolescence Sirias has enjoyed writing, but he is a late bloomer in the writing of fiction. Somewhat bored with producing works of literary criticism, while conducting interviews with several Latino and Latina novelists--as part of a project to compile a collection of conversations with these authors--he saw how much fun they were having as pioneers in a new U.S. literary horizon, so he decided to join in.
In terms of scholarly writing, in addition to numerous published articles, he wrote JULIA ALVAREZ: A CRITICAL COMPANION (Greenwood Press, 2001)--a full-length study of the novels of the talented Dominican-American author. He also prepared the second edition of Salomón de la Selva's TROPICAL TOWN AND OTHER POEMS (Arte Público Press, 1998). Originally published in 1918, by the John Lane Company in New York, TROPICAL TOWN represents the first English-language collection of a poet of Latin American descent to be published in the United States. With Salomón de la Selva being from Nicaragua, and also writing in English, Sirias has felt a lifelong connection with this author. To produce this edition, he received a grant from the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project. Also, out of admiration for the work of Rudolfo Anaya, Sirias collected and co-edited the interviews that appear in CONVERSATIONS WITH RUDOLFO ANAYA (University Press of Mississippi, 1999).
With BERNARDO AND THE VIRGIN (Northwestern University Press, 2005), he launched his career as a novelist. Hailed by MOON HANDBOOKS' GUIDE TO NICARAGUA as a work that "stands head and shoulders above other books about Nicaragua," BERNARDO AND THE VIRGIN is based on the "true" tale of the Virgin Mary's 1980 apparition in the small village of Cuapa--an event that had significant religious and political repercussions. Because of the broad canvas of this "epic" account of Nicaragua in the latter half of the 20th century, the author had the opportunity to explore every theme that possesses him: politics, history, religion, spirituality, family, war, immigration, biculturalism, shifting traditions, superstitions, and death.
MEET ME UNDER THE CEIBA (Arte Público Press, 2009) won the 2007 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize for Best Novel. This story of greed, love, lust, death, and homophobia--also inspired by a true incident--relates the bizarre circumstances of the 1999 murder of a woman in the town of La Curva, in the province of Masaya. The writer Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, judge of the 2007 Chicano/Latino Literary Contest, expressed that MEET ME UNDER THE CEIBA is "a fascinating read--very well-written, with a delightful, lively pace."
Since 2002, Silvio resides in Panama, where he continues to write and teach. For more information on the author, visit his website at www.silviosirias.com