The Helena María Viramontes Annual Lecture in Latina/o Literature was founded in spring 2015 when the project directors organized an event to commemorate the work of Los Angeles native Helena María Viramontes (Professor, Cornell University), one of the most important Chicana writers of the post-1960s Chicano Movement generation. For the lecture’s second year (spring 2016), CSU Long Beach hosted renowned Chicano fiction writer and scholar Manuel Muñoz (Associate Professor, University of Arizona). The lecture’s third year (spring 2017) hosted Puerto Rican poet and performance artist Urayoán Noel. Now in its fourth year, the annual lecture has garnered widespread interest and support on campus and in the broader Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Orange County communities that CSU Long Beach serves.
The lecture series is dedicated to the creation of a public space for community members, faculty, staff, and students to engage with and discuss issues related to Latina/o literature and culture with some of the most important writers and scholars in the field. The event entails a public reception, a book signing, and a public performance by renowned Latina/o writers, poets, and scholars in the Humanities. It creates an opportunity for community members, students, and faculty to meet and interact with top Latina/o authors and scholars in the U.S., as well as to discuss and participate in a collective dialogue on the issues and themes most relevant to the study and practice of Latina/o arts in the Humanities.