Graciela Limón

American writer

Graciela Limón (August 2, 1938) is a Latina/Chicana novelist and a former university professor.


  • I am, I get very happy. I go into a phase of satisfaction or joy or happiness when I’m writing. It’s painful, but I like the serenity that I get when I write. I can’t be doing it always, that’s why there are gaps. When I finish with the first draft, there is a time I don’t do any writing at all. But once I get into that phase, it’s a very rich, a very fulfilling phase of my life. So I look forward to it when it comes upon me again. I am very grateful. I write because it is an experience of joy and fulfillment.
  • This is another thing about being honest with one’s writing. You know that the big umbrella term is Latino/Latina. Twenty years ago, we defined ourselves categorically with the word Chicana. This has been amplified and that’s okay as long as they’re talking about the same experiences, but that is not the case. We are all migrants, there’s not one of us that did not come from an immigrant family. There are different stages; however, some are still coming in from El Salvador and Mexico, some like my family on both sides came in the early part of last century. Some come directly as rural people and others as city people, one is not better than the other…
  • I’ve never felt compelled to write about this or that, or to take a position whether it’s political or ideological. However, I know that because of who I am, what I am, this will come out. I am a woman, so therefore my writing will be about strong women. Because I am the person I am, the women will be very much along my lines and think the way I think, so to speak. It’s hard for me to write about marginal women. I don’t even know what that feels like. Therefore, I will be criticized that my male characters suffer…
  • … I inhabit the body of a woman, my soul is the soul of a woman, and my eyes are the eyes of a woman, so what else can come out? Of course the women are going to loom to the foreground and the males will go to the background that is not male bashing. It is not because I feel an imperative, a mission; it’s because of who I am and what I am.
  • I’ve written and published nine novels, and each time I’ve found it difficult not to bring forth the issues that most concern me, whether it be class struggles, women’s issues, cultural and trans-border experiences. And sincerely, I feel comfortable delving into these issues over and over again because I see their relevance to our society today…
  • … It’s difficult not to fall into the stereotype trap here because our culture almost encourages it. It’s undeniable that among us live the Dominant Machos and the Submissive Females. However, I’ve tried to conquer that reality by working with it, yet not dehumanizing those characters, thus keeping them from being stereotypes.
  • …We Chicana/o authors are naturally drawn to concentrate on the challenges and issues that confront our society, which in turn are different from those that our Latin American colleagues face. I really think that we, on this side of the border, tend to be more direct and frank; perhaps some of us might be considered more audacious and blunt. And I believe this comes to us as a result of being brought up in the U.S., where we’re taught to be outspoken. Where a Latin American author circumvents or evades, a Chicana/o aims straight at the heart of the issue without mincing words.

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