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Honorary Fellows

Each year the AATSP considers outstanding achievement by individuals in the field of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian languages, literatures, cultures, linguistics, and cinema for recognition as an AATSP Honorary Fellow.


The AATSP Bylaws outline the qualifications for Honorary Fellows and describe the process for approval.  The relevant section of the Bylaws is included at the end of this message.  Nominations for AATSP Honorary Fellows may be submitted by any AATSP member in good standing and must be submitted using the Nomination Form for Honorary Fellows.


CLICK HERE to view and download the Nomination Form for Honorary Fellows. Please note that the Nomination Form contains information about what to include with the Form as well as instructions for submission. 



Playwright, Director, Writer, Actor, Teacher

Acknowledged as the "godfather of Chicano theater," Luis Valdez (1940—) is the founder and artistic director of El Teatro Campesino. Started in 1965, Valdez has led the theater company to international acclaim and numerous awards. The author and director of numerous plays, Valdez has also written and directed two films: Zoot Suit, based on his play of the same name and La Bamba, the 1987 hit movie based on the life of the Mexican-American rock star, Ritchie Valens. It's his work with El Teatro Campesino, however, and his dedication to advancing the role of the arts in people's lives that sets Valdez apart from his contemporaries. "If you want to understand modern Latino theater, you have to know that Luis was the start," Sean San Jose of San Fran-cicso's Campo Santo Theater Company told Karen D'Souza of the San Jose Mercury News. "Everything that came after him was informed by him."

Born Luis Miguel Valdez on June 26, 1940 in Delano, California, Valdez was raised in the agricultural labor camps around California where his parents worked in the fields, picking what ever crop was in season. It was a small role in an elementary school play and seeing his parents and those like them work the long, grueling hours for little pay that moved Valdez to use the theater to shed light on the Latino experience. "I took what I most feared, the thing I was most ashamed of, and turned it into something I could write about," he told students at San Diego State Universtiy in 2000.


Following graduation from high school, Valdez attended San Jose State University where he produced his first play, The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa, in 1964. Following a short time with the famed San Francisco Mime Troupe, Valdez joined activist Cesar Chavez in 1965 and sought to raise funds for the grape boycott and farmworkers strike that Chavez had organized, and bring attention to the plight of migrant farmworkers. Thus begun El Teatro Campesino which performed short plays based on the struggles of the farmworkers and people of Mexican descent. "He addressed cultural and Chicano issues from the point of view of a migrant farmworker," Professor Arsenio Cordova of the University of New Mexico told the Albuquerque Journal. "He's been able to address those attitudes totally, of discrimination."


Born Luis Miguel Valdez on June 26, 1940, in Delano, CA; married Guadalupe, August 23, 1969; children: Anahuac, Kinan, Lakin. Education: San Jose State University, 1964.

Career: Founder and artistic director, El Teatro Campesino, 1965-; playwright: The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa, 1964; La Virgen de Tepeyac, 1971; La Carpa de los Rasquachis, 1974; El Fin del Mundo, 1976; Zoot Suit, 1979; Tibercio Vasquez, 1980; Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution, 1983;I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges, 1986; Ban-dido!, 1994; The Mummified Deer, 2000;Mundo Mata, 2001; screenwriter: Which Way Is Up?, 1977; Zoot Suit (also director),1982; La Bamba(also director), 1987; author: Actos: Produced Between 1965-70, 1971; Aztlan: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature, (with Stan Steiner), 1972; Pensamiento Serpentino: A Chicano Approach to the Theater of Reality, 1973; University of California, Santa Cruz; lecturer in theater arts, University of California, Berkeley, lecturer in Chicano History and Theater; Center for Teledramatic Arts and Technology at California State University, founding faculty tenured professor.

Memberships: Writers Guild of America; Society of State Directors and Choreographers; California Arts Council; National Endowment of the Arts.

Awards: Obie Award, 1969; Los Angeles Drama Critic Circle Award, 1969, 1972, 1978; Emmy Award 1973; Best Musical Picture Golden Globe nomination, 1981; San Francisco Bay Critics Circle Award, 1983; Governors Award of the California Arts Council, 1990; Aquila Azteca Award, Government of Mexico, 1994.

Addresses: El Teatro Campesino, PO Box 1250, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045.

After four years the small theater company received national recognition by winning an Obie Award in New York and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award in 1969, and then another L.A. Drama Critics Award in 1972. In 1977 Valdez co-wrote the screenplay for Which Way is Up?, a comedy starring Richard Pryor, and received a Rockefeller Foundation Artists-In-Residence grant which enabled him to write the most famous play to come out of El Teatro Campesino in 1979, Zoot Suit.

Zoot Suit was based on the murder of a Mexican American and the subsequent unfair trial of Mexican Americans or zoot suiters, as they were termed by the press in Los Angeles in the early 1940s. A musical, Valdez's Zoot Suit become one of the most popular plays to have ever originated in Los Angeles and was the first play by a Chicano to be presented on Broadway. A movie version, also written and directed by Valdez and starring Edward James Olmos, was released in 1981 and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Musical Picture.

La Bamba

Valdez had his most mainstream success in 1987 with another film he wrote and directed, La Bamba. The story of Mexican American rock and roller Ritchie Valens, whose brief time in the spotlight ended when he was killed in the same plane crash as Buddy Holly, was one of that year's biggest box office successes. That same year, Valdez adapted his play, Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution, for PBS and won the prestigous Peabody Award. That play had previously won the San Francisco Bay Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, when it premiered in 1983.

In 1993 Valdez co-wrote and directed a made-for-TV movie of The Cisco Kid starring Jimmy Smits. Broadcast on the Turner Television Network, the entire production was filmed on location in Mexico. The following year, Valdez received the prestigious Aguila Azteca Award (Golden Eagle Award), which is the highest honor bestowed by the Mexican government for citizens of other countries.

In 2000 Valdez became a founding faculty tenured professor at the Center for Teledramatic Arts and Technology at California State University, Monterey Bay. In this role, the playwright works with students from a variety of backgrounds and encourages them to use technology in an effort to continue the tradition of raising social issues through art. "Today, the opportunity to distribute artistic work and share untold stories has never been greater," Valdez told Alejandra Navarro of the Modesto Bee, adding that he envisioned live theater going out over the Internet.

Back to "the Farmworker Question"

In 2001 Valdez returned to a play he began writing in 1976, and to a subject matter that's never left him: farmworkers. "It's been 25 years," Valdez confessed to the San Jose Mercury News. "It's time to come full circle, to come back to the farmworker question." Mundo Mata tells the story of two migrant worker brothers divided by their beliefs. One brother is idealistic and eager to join the United Farm Workers, while the other falls into drugs after a tour of duty in Vietnam, and begins working for the landowners.

In the title role of Mundo was one of Valdez's sons, Kinan, who shares his father's beliefs in the social significance of art and seeks to instill those ideas in El Teatro Campesino of the future. "We, the new generation at the theater, really want to take the company back to its roots in agitational propaganda," Kinan Valdez told the San Jose Mercury News. "The farm-workers are still stuck in the same place. We want to remind people of the struggle."

In his work, Valdez attempts to illustrate, not just the plight of Latinos and the prejudices they face, but also the fact that there are differences among all people and that there is much to be learned from them. "What comes out in the final analysis," he told the students at San Diego State University, "is we are all more alike than we think, we're just from different tribes."



The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa, 1964.

La Virgen de Tepeyac, 1971.

La Carpa de los Rasquachis, 1974.

El Fin del Mundo, 1976.

Zoot Suit, 1979.

Tibercio Vasquez, 1980.

Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution, 1983.

I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges, 1986.

Bandido!, 1994.

The Mummified Deer, 2000.

Mundo Mata, 2001.



Which Way Is Up?, 1977.

Zoot Suit, (also director)1982.

La Bamba, (also director) 1987.


Television Plays and Movies

Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution, (also director) 1987.

La Pastorela: A Shepherd's Tale, 1991.

The Cisco Kid, (also director), 1993.



Actos: Produced Between 1965-70, Cucaracha Press, 1971.

Aztlan: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature, (with Stan Steiner), Knopf, 1972.

Pensamiento Serpentino: A Chicano Approach to the Theater of Reality, Cucaracha Press, 1973.


Albuquerque Journal, April 1, 2001.

Daily Aztec (San Diego State University), May 11, 2000.

Modesto Bee, April 29, 2000.

San Jose Mercury News, May 31, 2001.


Additional information for this profile was obtained from El Teatro Campesino.

—Brian Escamilla


Note: The above biography was downloaded from:




Renombrada autora chilena y ganadora de numerosos premios literarios


La autora chilena Isabel Allende se ganó el reconocimiento de todo el mundo cuando su primera novela, La Casa de los Espíritus, publicada en 1982, se transformó en un best seller. Además de lanzar la carrera de Allende y convertirla en una autora renombrada, el libro, que surgió de una carta de despedida a su abuelo moribundo, también la consagró como una fuerza feminista en el mundo literario de América Latina dominado por el sexo masculino. Desde entonces, ha escrito cerca de 20 obras, entre ellas De amor y de Sombra, Eva Luna, Cuentos de Eva Luna, El Plan Infinito, Hija de la Fortuna, Retrato en Sepia, una trilogía para lectores jóvenes (Ciudad de las Bestias, El Reino del Dragón de Oro, y El Bosque de los Pigmeos ), Zorro, Inés del Alma Mía, La Isla Bajo el Mar, y El Cuaderno de Maya. Entre los libros de no ficción se incluyen Afrodita, una colección humorística de recetas y ensayos, y tres memorias: Mi País Inventado, Paula (un éxito de ventas que documenta la enfermedad y la muerte de la hija de Allende, así como su propia vida), y La suma de Nuestros Días. Su último libro es El Juego de Ripper, una novela de crimen. Los libros de Allende, escritos todos en su lengua materna, el español, han sido traducidos a más de 35 idiomas y se han vendido más de 65 millones de copias. Sus obras entretienen y educan a los lectores tejiendo historias intrigantes con acontecimientos históricos importantes. Entre los temas que aborda en sus relatos se destacan: Chile durante los siglos quince, diecinueve, y veinte; la fiebre del oro de California; el movimiento guerrillero de 1960 en Venezuela; la guerra de Vietnam; y la rebelión de los esclavos en Haití en el siglo dieciocho. Allende, quien ha recibido decenas de homenajes y premios internacionales en los últimos 30 años, describe su ficción como "literatura realista”, arraigada en su extraordinaria crianza, las personas y los eventos místicos que impulsaron su imaginación. Así mismo, sus escritos han sido influenciados por sus convicciones feministas, su compromiso con la justicia social, y las duras realidades políticas que dieron forma a su destino. Periodista de la televisión y las revistas de Chile a fines de 1960 y principios de 1970, la vida de Allende fue alterada para siempre cuando el general Augusto Pinochet encabezó el golpe de estado militar de 1973 que derrocó al gobierno socialista de Chile. Salvador Allende, primo de Isabel, que había sido electo presidente de Chile en 1970, murió durante el golpe. El régimen de Pinochet se caracterizó desde el principio por la represión y la brutalidad, y Allende se involucró con grupos que ofrecían ayuda a las víctimas del régimen. Finalmente, al ver que permanecer en Chile no era seguro, huyó del país en 1975 con su esposo y sus dos hijos. La familia vivió en exilio en Venezuela durante los siguientes 13 años. En 1981 Allende se enteró de que su amado abuelo, que aún vivía en Chile, se estaba muriendo y comenzó a escribirle una carta en la que relataba los recuerdos de su infancia en la casa de sus abuelos. Aunque su abuelo murió antes de tener la oportunidad de leer la carta, su contenido se convirtió en la base para La Casa de los Espíritus, la novela que lanzó su carrera literaria a los 40 años. La novela narra la historia de dos familias que viven en Chile desde 1920 hasta el golpe militar de 1973, y ha sido calificada como una saga familiar además de un testimonio político. Además de su trabajo como escritora, Allende también dedica gran parte de su tiempo a los derechos humanos. Tras la muerte de su hija Paula en 1992 estableció, en honor a ella, una fundación caritativa dedicada a la protección y al empoderamiento de mujeres y niños en todo el mundo. Desde 1987, Allende ha vivido en San Rafael, California, con su segundo marido, el abogado y escritor William Gordon, y sus parientes. Allende se convirtió en ciudadana de los EE.UU. en 1993, pero como dice ella, vive con un pie en California y otro en Chile. 

NOTE: The above biography was downloaded from:

That same website contains additional information about the author.





Renowned Brazilian author of fiction and literary criticism


Silviano Santiago writes fiction and literary criticism and is considered already a classic in Brazil. He received the José Donoso Ibero-American Prize of Letters for his work in September-2014. Born in Formiga, a small town in Minas Gerais, in 1936, he moved to Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state, at 12 years old and degreed there in Literature. He then went to Rio de Janeiro to study French Literature and got a scholarship to go to Paris for his PhD at Sorbonne. In the sixties and seventies, he was a visiting professor in universities around the world. His vast work (31 published books) includes poetry, short stories, novels and essays – all of them acclaimed by public and critics. Nowadays he contributes to the major newspaper and magazines in Brazil, both to the general public and specialized publications. He has been awarded with more than ten literary prizes, among them Portugal Telecom, Mario de Andrade, Jabuti, Machado de Assis (for his whole work), besides José Donoso, for the first time given to a Brazilian author. He is currently finishing a new volume of essays to be published by Companhia das Letras in 2016.


NOTE: The above biography was downloaded from:

That same website contains additional information about the author.




Director de la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española (ANLE)
Profesor en la City University of New York (Lehman and Graduate Center)

Nacido en La Línea de la Inmaculada Concepción (Cádiz) en 1948, vivió, desde 1956 hasta 1973, en Tánger (Marruecos). Desde 1973 reside en Nueva York. Estudió en las Universidades de Granada y Salamanca. Se doctoró en Lengua y Literatura españolas por el Graduate Center de la City University of New York con una tesis sobre La narrativa breve del exilio español de 1939. Es profesor en la City University of New York (Lehman and Graduate Center). Ha enseñado también en St. John´s University y Teachers College, Columbia University. Es miembro Correspondiente de la Academia de Buenas Letras de Granada (electo) y Presidente Honorario de la Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica Sigma Delta Pi. En 1992 fue nombrado Numerario de la Academia Norteamericana y Correspondiente de la Real Academia Española. Desde 2008 es director de la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española. 

Entre sus libros cabe destacar: Gabriela Mistral y los Estados Unidos, Hablando bien se entiénde la gente, 2010 (en colab.); Escritores españoles en los Estados Unidos(ed.), 2007; Desde esta cámara oscura, 2006 (novela); Locura y éxtasis en las letras y artes hispánicas (coed.) 2005; Odón Betanzos Palacios: la integridad del árbol herido, 2004; Hispanos en los Estados Unidos: Tercer pilar de la hispanidad (coed.), 2004; España en las Américas,  2004; Presencia hispánica en los Estados (coed.),2003; Confabulaciones. Estudios sobre artes y letras hispánicas (coed.), 2001;Acentos femeninos y marco estético del nuevo milenio (coed.), 2000; 1898: Entre el desencanto y la esperanza (coed.), 1999; La obra narrativa de S. Serrano Poncela. Crónica del desarraigo, 1999; De la catedral al rascacielos. Actas de la XVII Asamblea General de ALDEEU en Nueva York, 1998. (coed.); Homenaje al Profesor Mordecai Rubin, 1997; Guía de estilo para periodistas,1997; Narrativa breve de Manuel Andújar, 1988; De ´La Celestina´ a ´Paraphernalia...´: Estudios sobre teatro español, 1984.


 Previously named Honorary Members 

Professor Akira Kono, specialist in Portuguese language and linguistics, named Honorary Member of the AATSP

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