Authors Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Fruit of the Drunken Tree and Elaine Castillo, America is Not the Heart
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras is a mesmerizing debut set in Colombia at the height Pablo Escobar's violent reign about a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both. Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogotá, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, Guernica, and Huffington Post, among others. She has received fellowships and awards from The Missouri Review, Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, VONA, Hedgebrook, The Camargo Foundation, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. She is the book columnist for KQED Arts, the Bay Area's NPR affiliate. She was a 2015 fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto.
America is Not the Heart is the story of an immigrant family. When Hero De Vera arrives in America, she is haunted by the political upheaval in the Philippines and disowned by her parents. Her uncle gives her a fresh start in the Bay Area, and he doesn’t ask about her past. But his daughter – the first American-born daughter in the family–can’t resist asking Hero about her damaged hands. This is a sprawling, soulful debut about three generations of women in one family struggling to balance the promise of the American dream and the unshakeable grip of history.
Elaine Castillo was born in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and received her MA in creative and life writing from Goldsmiths, University of London. She lives in Milpitas, California. America is Not the Heart is her first novel.
The Rising Writers Series is a forum for the Bay Area's emerging authors to discuss the cultural issues that matter to them. By presenting conversations between writers on the rise, their peers or mentors, we give authors a stage to celebrate their work and examine the inspirations and challenges they face in California today. Co-curated and hosted by Theodore Gioia.
A writer of Uruguayan origins, Carolina De Robertis is the author of the novels The Gods of Tango, Perla, and the international bestseller The Invisible Mountain. Her books have been translated into seventeen languages, and have been named Best Books of the Year in venues including the San Francisco Chronicle, O, The Oprah Magazine, BookList, and NBC. She is the recipient of a Stonewall Book Award, Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize, and a 2012 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, among other honors. (read more)
She is also an award-winning translator of Latin American and Spanish literature, and editor of the anthology Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times, which features essays by leading thinkers and writers in response to the shifting political atmosphere in the U.S. In 2017, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts named De Robertis on its 100 List of “people, organizations, and movements that are shaping the future of culture.” She teaches fiction and literary translation at San Francisco State University, and lives in Oakland, California, with her wife and two children. Her fourth novel, Cantoras, is forthcoming in September 2019.