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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 20, 2004

Click here for a higher-resolution version of the Michele Serros photograph.

Latina Author And Poet Michele Serros To Give Talk Oct. 22

Michele Serros, award-winning poet and author of "How to be a Chicana Role Model" and "Chicana Falsa," will give a presentation from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, in the University of Iowa's Becker Communications Study Building Auditorium.

Serros will also give away books and t-shirts during her presentation, which is free and open to the public. The Becker Building is located at 25 S. Madison St.

Her presentation Friday is part of the Latino and Native American Alumni Alliance's third annual reunion, LaNA-3, which runs Oct. 21-24 on the UI campus, and it is made possible by a grant from the UI Year of Arts and Humanities. Co-Sponsors include the UI Department of Sociology, Opportunity at Iowa, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Council on the Status of Latinos and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

A regular commentator for National Public Radio's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Serros has been a writer for "George Lopez", an ABC comedy starring Lopez in the lead role. She has a spoken-word CD on Mercury Records and toured nationally with Lollapalooza as a Road Poet, reading her work to stadium crowds of more than 25,000 people. She was selected by the Getty Research Institute and the Poetry Society of America to have her poetry placed on MTA buses throughout Los Angeles County and has been a featured contributor for the Los Angeles Times' children's fiction section.

Serros was still a student at Santa Monica City College in California when her first book of poetry and short stories, "Chicana Falsa and other stories of Death, Identity and Oxnard," was published by Lalo Press. When the press went out of business, Serros sold copies of the book from her garage. Since then the book has been reissued by Riverhead Books (a division of Penguin Putnam) and has become required reading in high schools and universities across the country.

"From the white boy who transforms himself into a full-fledged Chicano, to the self-assured woman who effortlessly terrorizes her Anglo boss, to the junior-high friend who berated her 'sloppy Spanish' and accused her of being a 'Chicana Falsa,' the people and places that Serros brings to vivid life in the collection of poems and stories introduce a unique new viewpoint to the American literary landscape," according to the publisher. "Witty, tender, irreverent and emotionally honest, her words speak to the painful and hilarious identity crises particular to the coming of age of an adolescent caught between two cultures."

Serros' "How to be a Chicana Role Model" was published in 2000 by Riverhead Books and immediately reached the Los Angeles Times bestseller list. She was subsequently named by Newsweek as "one of the top young women to watch for in the new century."

Currently living in New York City, Serros is writing a young adult novel tentatively titled "Notes for a Medium Brown Girl". She continues to speak at high schools, correctional facilities and universities across the country.

Numerous meetings and activities are planned as part of the LaNA-3 reunion, including an art exhibit, potluck, an alumni-student networking reception, music, poetry, panel discussions and a Hawkeye Tailgate Party are among the planned activities. As with the reading, all of the events are free and open to the public.

For information about more LaNA-3 events, see or visit

UI President David Skorton's determination to increase public awareness and support of the rich tradition of arts and humanities on campus and throughout Iowa led him to declare academic year 2004-2005 the Year of Arts and Humanities, a time to celebrate that rich tradition and forge cultural linkages between the academic community and communities around the state. The Year of the Arts and Humanities is supported by the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice-president for Research and the Graduate College.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, Adele Lozano, Opportunity at Iowa, 319-335-3555,