Helena María Viramontes

Helena María Viramontes is the author of Their Dogs Came with Them, a novel, and two previous works of fiction, The Moths and Other Stories and Under the Feet of Jesus, a novel. Named a Ford Fellow in Literature for 2007 by United States Artists, she has also received the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, a Sundance Institute Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship and a Spirit Award from the California Latino Legislative Caucus. Viramontes is Goldwin Smith Professor of English at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where she is at work on a new novel.

Author of

“Helena María Viramontes' power is in her heartfelt observations about the forgotten poor.  Not simply the poor, I mean the despised and reviled: the homeless, the immigrant, the cholas and cholos.  She is as compassionate as John Steinbeck, as sweeping as the unflinching camera of Sebastiao Salgado.”

-Sandra Cisneros





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"This is one of those rare occasions where I read a book, I felt that I knew this writer very well, we'd spoken before on Bookworm, and along came a book, twelve years after her last one, that really is what is in the purest form a breakthrough book.  Nowadays they talk about a breakthrough book and what they mean is it's a bestseller, but when the term was invented, it referred to a writer who really had broken through to a new level of treating her material and her themes and found a level of expressiveness and structure that brought her work to a culmination.  And that's what we have in Their Dogs Came with Them . . . . There are certain books—and I'm a pretty good judge of this—that are going to become, over time, the books of their time .  .  .  . This is one of them."

-Michael Silverblatt, host of KCRW's Bookworm