Luis Urrea

Born in Tijuana, Urrea is a Mexican-American novelist, poet, and essayist. He wrote feature stores for the Reader from 1990 through 1994.

Articles by Luis Urrea

Best Reader stories from 1991

Bicycle deaths, Madame Schumann-Heink, Marshall South, Karen Wilkening, paving of I-15, Helen and David Copley, Luis Urrea's Tijuana

Satan chasers San Diego has many experts in the field of Satanism who say the county is a hotbed of Satanic activity. The hidden canyons of the back country, Ramona, Santee, Escondido, even Oceanside, are ...

Luis Urrea and the Reader

Tijuana dump, running of bulls in Tecate, Mexican slang, father and grandfather in TJ, glue-sniffers, TJ cops

Born in Tijuana, Urrea wrote feature stores for the Reader from 1990 through 1994. Urrea's collection of short stories, The Water Museum, was a finalist for the 2016 PEN-Faulkner Award and was named a best ...

Dalton's Luck: A San Diego Mystery

An unpublished novel about the Mexican border

The assassins spotted Dalton Lee in the Miami airport. Later after it was all over, he'd remember that moment when they locked eyes and he smiled like he smiled at everyone. Often he would doubt ...

Luis Urrea takes book tour media to Tijuana dump.

The vagaries of literary fame

Visiting the Tijuana dump is no different from visiting a friend at work. It is, after all, a factory. And the trash-pickers are busy — too busy to worry about lazy gringos wandering about.

Underprivileged Tijuanan brothers learn about grief the hard way

Death sometimes unites them

Nobody knew what happened to the boys’ parents. Not even the boys — Chacho, Elijio, Carlos, and Jorge — could explain what had happened to them. As is so often the case in Tijuana, one ...

My grandfather hoped to establish a commune in Tijuana

The tortilleria was the world’s jolliest sweat-lodge

They’d give tortillas to us plain — good enough! Or they’d roll a few drops of lemon juice in one, or a pinch of salt, or both. I ate a couple of these mini-tacos while I waited.

Logan Heights comes to me in Colorado and Wyoming

Homeboy on the range

Mexicans out here lie low. I know a Chicana poet who teaches at the University of Colorado, and every semester or so, some genius in a truck calls her a “greaser” or an “Injun.”

Tijuana cops don't get no respect

Hard to avoid mordida on $50 a week

He flicked on the siren. It whooped satisfactorily, sounding like a television show. "Muevete, pendelo" muttered to the cars that blocked his way as he maneuvered the Rio de Tijuana thoroughfare. I glanced at the ...

Glue-sniffing urchins in old Tijuana

Wanna sniff, hombre?

His name is Andres. He awakens with the sun. He lies in bed as long as he feels like it, picking the crust of glue off his upper lip. It’s white and vague as milk ...