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Rubén Degollado on Writing a Family Story, 25 Years in the Making

Rubén Degollado on Ursa Short Fiction

Hello friends!

This week on Ursa Short Fiction, Deesha Philyaw and Dawnie Walton go in-depth with Rubén Degollado, author of the novel The Family Izquierdo, which started out as a short story collection about a single family.

Degollado’s story “The Seven Songs” was featured on last week’s episode, and he discusses his journey to writing and publishing the book, as well as how he navigated his writing journey alongside his career as an educator. He first started writing the Izquierdo family stories in the late ’90s, eventually developing the family curse and tensions, and playing with point of view to inhabit the lives of the many family members.

Degollado aims to represent his own family, experiences, and community through The Family Izquierdo, and he quotes Toni Morrison, who said “if there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

“A lot of the stories I read were about immigrants, and I think those are great stories. I love immigrant stories, but that’s not what I wanted to write. I wanted to write about what happens after. What happens post immigration.”

If you haven’t already, be sure to listen to last week’s episode featuring Degollado’s story, “The Seven Songs.”

Reading List

About the Author 

Rubén Degollado’s work has recently appeared in Literary Hub, CRAFT, The Common, and elsewhere. His novel Throw won the Texas Institute of Letters Best Young Adult book for 2020. His debut literary novel The Family Izquierdo is a long list title for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award. Rubén lives and writes along the southern border, in the Río Grande Valley of Texas.

More from Deesha Philyaw and Dawnie Walton:


Episode editor: Kelly Araja

Associate producer: Marina Leigh

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