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Manual Munoz

Macarthur Foundation Fellow and Literary Project Author, Manuel Muñoz, Visits our High Schoolers

Acclaimed writer, Manuel Muñoz, author of The Consequences and three other admired works of fiction, performed an evocative reading and led an interactive workshop for our high schoolers at our downtown Oakland Simpson Center for Girls.
On the same day as his visit, Muñoz became one of 20 new “genius grants” recipients, a prestigious fellowship from The MacArthur Foundation dedicated to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations… for the benefit of human society.” Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, who embody exceptional talent and expertise—for Muñoz, it’s fictional writing, specifically, “Depicting with empathy and nuance the Mexican American communities of California’s Central Valley”

In his own words, “My community is too often regarded in narrow, shallow dimensions. The short stories I write are proof to the world that we are as complex and complicated as art demands and that our lives belong in works of art.”

A panel of our high schoolers prepared a series of questions to learn more about Muñoz and the journey that has led to his success, as both an award-winning author and an English Professor at the University of Arizona.

In addition to the “genius grant,” Muñoz was also a selected recipient of the 2023 Joyce Carol Oates Prize sponsored by New Literary Project (NewLit). NewLit is an Oakland-based nonprofit that supports storytelling across generations through free creative writing workshops for underserved high-school-age writers. They’ve hosted numerous workshops for our participants since their inception in 2016, and several of our youth have also been published in their annual anthology volumes.

Exposing our girls to creative ways of expressing themselves and introducing them to role models who are people of color and who share similar backgrounds is critical to reaching our youth in a meaningful way. Thank you, Mr. Muñoz, for your time and wisdom!