One Campus, One Book | Sept. 4, 2012 | Spotlight

Short stories depict the culture, history of Echo Park

‘The Madonnas of Echo Park’ chosen as this year’s campuswide read

Upcoming events:

One Campus, One Book: An Introduction To The Madonnas Of Echo Park
Mon., Oct. 8, 3:15 p.m., University-Student Union, Alhambra Room.
This kick-off event includes selected readings from the book, information about Echo Park, involvement opportunities, and more.

Panel Discussion: Exploring the Themes of The Madonnas of Echo Park
Wed., Oct. 17, 3:15 p.m., University-Student Union Theatre.
Join CSULA faculty in considering issues raised by Brando Skyhorse’s novel, including the cultural history of Echo Park, the effects of gentrification on local communities, and the dynamic identities of L.A. residents. Speakers include Dionne Espinoza (Chicano Studies, Liberal Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies) and Mark Wild (History).

Film Screening: Quinceañera
Tue., Nov. 13, 4:20 p.m. – University-Student Union Theatre.
Like Skyhorse’s novel, Quinceanera (2006) is set in Echo Park and examines the effects that neighborhood changes have on its long-term residents. Free admission.

Links to reference:

* One Campus, One Book Facebook page: br>

* Brando Skyhorse’s homepage:

* The Madonnas of Echo Park official page:

* Honors College at CSULA:

* University Library at CSULA:

Described as “a vivid portrayal of the lives of Mexican Americans who live and work in Echo Park,” Brando Skyhorse’s national bestseller The Madonnas of Echo Park is selected for Cal State L.A.’s 2012-13 One Campus, One Book.

Picture of book cover.

Chapter by chapter, the author draws from his childhood memories to tell stories of a housecleaner, a bus driver, former gang members, single mothers, and college graduates, whose lives intersect after a drive-by shooting set in the Echo Park community of Los Angeles.

According to the Publishers Weekly (June 2010), “Skyhorse excels at building a vibrant community and presenting several perspectives on what it means to be Mexican in America, from those who wonder ‘how can you lose something that never belonged to you?’ to those who miraculously find it.”

For this debut novel, Skyhorse received the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Born and raised in Echo Park, Skyhorse is a graduate of Stanford University and the MFA Writers’ Workshop program at UC Irvine.

“The characters’ narratives raise timely and relevant questions about immigration, acculturation, identity, faith, community, crime, gentrification, and pop culture,” said Maria Karafalis, professor of English at CSULA and member of the One Campus, One Book Committee.

The University Library and Honors College at CSULA are encouraging members of the campus community to read the book. Faculty and staff are also welcome to incorporate the study of the book into cross-disciplinary curricula and campus events throughout the year.

Karafalis added, “This book was chosen as the 2012-13 One Campus, One Book by the committee because, from the first line on, Skyhorse’s fluid and deft prose invites us into a world that resonates particularly with those living in East L.A. communities, and more universally with anyone who has felt dislocation, alienation, love, loss, and the desire to connect.”

Copies of the book will be available for check-out at the University Library or for purchase at the University Bookstore at a 20 percent discount. For teaching resources and more info on the One Campus, One Book community reading experience, go to: