Daniel Chacon

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Date: 2014
Document Type: Biography
Length: 792 words

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About this Person
Born: September 13, 1962 in Fresno, California, United States
Nationality: American
Occupation: College teacher
Updated:May 22, 2014


Born September 13, 1962. Education: Graduate of Fresno State University; University of Oregon, master's degree. Addresses: Office: Department of Creative Writing, University of Texas at El Paso, Liberal Arts 415, 500 W. University Ave., El Paso, TX 79968. E-mail: danChacón@utep.edu.


and novelist. University of Texas, El Paso, professor, 2000--; formerly taught in MN.


Hudson Prize, Black Lawrence publishers, 2007, for Unending Rooms; Chris Isherwood Foundation Grant; American Book Award; Jean de Man Emerging Writers Award.



  • Chicano Chicanery: Short Stories, Arte Público Press (Houston, TX), 2000.
  • And the Shadows Took Him (novel), Atria Books (New York, NY), 2004.
  • (Editor, with Mimi R. Gladstein) The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 2008.
  • Unending Rooms: Stories, Black Lawrence Press (New York, NY), 2008.
  • Hotel Juárez: Stories, Rooms and Loops, Arte Público Press (Houston, TX), 2013.

Contributor to books, including Our Working Lives: Short Stories of People and Work, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Wendell Ricketts, and John Delgo, eds., Bottom Dog Press (Huron, OH), 2000; Humor Me: An Anthology of Humor by Writers of Color, John McNally, ed., University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 2002; Caliente! The Best Erotic Writing in Latin American Fiction, J.H. Blair, ed., Berkley Books (New York, NY), 2002; Lengua Fresca: Latinos Writing on the Edge, Harold Augenbraum and Ilan Stavans, eds., Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006; James Thomas, and Best of the West 2009: New Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri, D. Seth Horton, eds., University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 2009; Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, Robert Shapard, James Thomas, and Ray González, eds., W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2010; and The Other Latin@: Writing against a Singular Identity, Blas Falconer and Lorraine López, eds., University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 2011.


Daniel Chacón is a novelist and short-story writer who teaches at the University of Texas at El Paso. His works include the novel And the Shadows Took Him, and the collections Chicano Chicanery: Short Stories, Unending Rooms: Stories, and Hotel Juárez: Stories, Rooms and Loops. He has also coedited The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga

In Hotel Juárez, Chacón experiments with different ways of telling stories and the concepts of what a story should be. "Many of the stories are very short and contain images that flash in the reader's mind, loop back and connect to earlier ones," said a Fresh Fiction Web site reviewer. "Other stories are longer, like rooms, into which Chacón invites the reader." "I am trying to accomplish good writing. I'm trying to create a landscape, or a giant house. I want to invite people with imaginations to come inside and take a look around," the author told Manuel Ramon in an interview published on the La Bloga Web site. "I want them to see the paintings on the wall, use the furniture, make themselves at home. I want them to take off their shoes and walk barefoot on the wooden floors, maybe follow a hallway, go through a few doors, walk through the house and suddenly, we realize we looped around, and we bump into earlier versions of ourselves going the opposite direction." "Throughout," wrote Diego Baez in Booklist, "Chacón's prose moves swiftly, doubles back, and echoes itself with tessellated, Alhambra-like layering."

Critics noted that Hotel Juárez, like Chacón's other works, invokes the genre of magical realism. "The book title is taken from a real hotel in Juárez that Chacón noticed as he was walking with El Paso marchers protesting the violence and other issues in Juárez about two years ago," declared Ramon Renteria in the El Paso Times. "'I knew then that all those rooms and hallways inside that hotel was the structure of the book,' he said. 'The hotel itself is the book.'" "Hotel Juárez had many different drafts, and different titles," Chacón told Ramon in his La Bloga interview, "but it wasn't until I walked by a hotel in Juárez and snapped that picture that you see on the cover of the book that I realized what the collection wanted to be, how it wanted to be shaped, how it wanted to unfold. "It's a hotel," he explained to Ramon. "The entire collection is in five parts, and each of them represent a different part of an Escher-like house, a giant hotel with many windows and many doors and many staircases. It is a place of the imagination." "Chacón draws for us in unpretentious prose," stated Alan Cheuse in All Things Considered, "the essential shapes and forms of things in everyday life ... all on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, all on the border between life and art."




Booklist, April 1, 2013, Diego Baez, review of Hotel Juárez: Stories, Rooms and Loops, p. 21.

El Paso Times (El Paso, TX), September 8, 2013, Ramon Renteria, "El Paso Author Daniel Chacón Promotes His New Book 'Hotel Juárez.'"

Library Journal, April 1, 2004, Lyle Rosdahl, review of And the Shadows Took Him, p. 120.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 2008, review of The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga.


All Things Considered, http://www.npr.org/ (March 21, 2013), Alan Cheuse, review of Hotel Juárez.

Fresh Fiction, http:// freshfiction.com/ (December 18, 2013), review of Hotel Juárez.

La Bloga, http:// labloga.blogspot.com/ (April 19, 2013), Manuel Ramos, "Interview with Daniel Chacón."

University of Texas at El Paso Web site, http://faculty.utep.edu/ (December 18, 2013), author profile.*

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000307696