Birthday: December 20, 1954
Age: 66 Years, 66 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Born in: Chicago
Famous as: Writer
father: Alfredo Cisneros de Moral
mother: Elvira Cordero Anguiano
City: Chicago, Illinois
U.S. State: Illinois
education: Josephinum Academy, Loyola University Chicago, University of Iowa
awards: 1985 - American Book Awards - The House on Mango Street
1995 - MacArthur Fellowship - Fiction
1993 - Anisfield-Wolf Book Award - Woman Hollering Creek
1991 - Lannan Literary Award - Fiction
Who is Sandra Cisneros?
Sandra Cisneros is an American writer best known for her first novel 'The House on Mango Street' in which a young Latina woman comes of age in Chicago. She is acknowledged as a pioneer in her literary field, as she is the first female Mexican-American writer to have her work published by a mainstream publisher. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages. During graduation, she realised that she had no nice memory of growing up to write about, like her peers. All she could remember was constantly shifting between Mexico and US, growing up with six brothers and a misogynist father, and feeling alone. But, rather than being afraid, she decided to pen these experiences and bared her tale of limited opportunities and a restricted lifestyle. When it came to novel writing, she worked on the formation of the Chicana identity, exploring the challenges of being caught between Mexican and Anglo-American cultures, facing the misogynist attitude present in both these cultures, and poverty. While writing Cisneros alternates between first person, third person, and stream-of-consciousness narrative modes, and ranges from brief impressionistic vignettes to longer event-driven stories, and from highly poetic language to brutally frank language. Generally critiquing the social norms, she was amazed by the recognition she received beyond the Chicano and Latino communities.
Childhood & Early Life
Sandra Cisneros was born in Illinois, Chicago on December 20, 1954, to a Mexican father and a Chicana mother. She had six brothers.
Her father was an upholsterer and hence the family kept shifting between Chicago and Mexico City. Due to this Sandra became shy and reserved and could never commit to a lasting friendship or a relationship.
Her mother, Elvira was a very strong female influence on her. Elvira was a voracious reader and was more socially enlightened and conscious than her husband. She ensured that her daughter realizes and achieves her potential.
Sandra Cisneros received her high school education from Josephinum Academy, a small Catholic all-girls school. She wrote poetry and was the literary magazine's editor.
In 1976, she graduated from Loyola University with BA in English and received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa, in 1978.
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After graduating she taught former high-school dropouts at the Latino Youth High School in Chicago, in 1978. This experience helped her in understanding the problems of the young Latino Americans.
In her 1984 hit-novel 'The House on Mango Street' she very boldly addresses subjects such as gender inequality and the marginalisation of cultural minorities. Admiring her courage and writing skill, many top universities offered her the position of 'Writer-in-Residence'.
She draws inspiration from her personal experiences and by observing the people of her community and those around her. She makes a record of conversations from where ever she goes and later incorporates them in her story.
Proud of her ethnicity, she regularly uses Spanish words/phrases in place of English ones. But her easy and descriptive sentence formation helps the non-Spanish speakers in comprehending the sentence.
In 1991, she published a collection of 22 short stories called the 'Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories'.
Through her novels, she wishes to enlighten the contradictory difference between the romantic mythologies regarding love and sex and the reality faced by the women of her patriarchal society.
In her short story 'Never Marry a Mexican', which is one of the stories from her book 'Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories', she often critiques the Mexican way of thinking about a woman as a virgin or a whore, and no intermediate position. She believes that for the women, this thinking imposes on them a limited and even negative definition of their own identities.
A noticeable trait in her writing is the constant fixation with the border between two countries (America and Mexico or fictional borders mentioned in her novels). She very easily transcends from its geographical meaning to the differing notions about sex, class, gender and ethnicity between them.
Sandra's first novel, 'The House On Mango Street' which came out in 1984, has sold more than 2 million copies.
Awards & Achievements
Sandra Cisneros received a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts in 1981 and 1988.
She received the 'Quality Paperback Book Club New Voices' Award, the 'Anisfield-Wolf Book' Award, the 'PEN Center West' Award for best fiction, the 'Lannan Foundation Literary Award' and the 'Premio Napoli Award'.
She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1995
Personal Life & Legacy
Sandra has never believed in the institution of marriage and lives alone happily, as it helps her in writing, without any hindrance. She herself said, "My writing is my child and I don't want anything to come between us."
She founded the 'Macondo Foundation' in 1998 in her kitchen and it was officially incorporated in 2006. The foundation works with writers who write about community-building and non-violent social change.
She founded the 'Alfredo del Moral Foundation' in 2000 to commemorate the memory of his father. The foundation awards writers that were born in Texas, write about Texas or have lived there since 2007.