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"Reading from All Sides of the Tracks" - Matt de la Peña Returns to Pacific

De la Peña's lecture will highlight the need for diversity in young adult literature.
Nov 18, 2014

"Here's the thing: I was probably gonna write a book when I got older anyways. About what it's like growing up on the levee in Stockton..."

A reluctant reader, former Pacific student and basketball player, and award-winning writer who has been compared to authors like John Green by Entertainment Weekly, the College of the Pacific is proud to welcome Matt de la Peña to campus on Wednesday, November 19, for a lecture and book signing at 7:00 pm in the DeRosa University Center Ballroom.

"University of the Pacific is where my educational aspirations were born," said Matt in a recent interview with Capital Public Radio. "The reason University of the Pacific is so important to me is because I had incredible professors who made me believe that I really could be a writer."

Sponsored by the Latin American Studies program, Matt's lecture, "Reading from All Sides of the Tracks," will build on many of the themes he explored during his 2012 visit to Pacific, and look at the need for diversity in young adult literature. From the ground-breaking Mexican WhiteBoy and Ball Don't Lie to his most recent novel, The Living, Matt's award-winning books reach out to young people who think that reading isn't for them. He writes in their language about their lives, their hopes, their struggles, because he knows where they are and where they've been.

In addition to his lecture on Wednesday evening, Matt will also speak to Creative Writing and Ethnic Studies students earlier that day and will speak to students at Stagg High School in the afternoon. Matt will not be alone in his travels; his father, who is a powerful part of Matt's journey, will be accompanying him and speaking to students as well.

In the run up to his visit to Pacific, Matt took to his website to reflect the pivotal role that basketball has played in his life before, during, and after his days at Pacific:

"Soon the day will come when I can no longer dunk, when I can no longer scoot around the skinny kid at the Y with the big head. Eventually my skills will deteriorate to the point that a basketball court stops feeling like a haven and starts feeling more like a prison cell. But I will never forget you, Basketball. You were with me every step of the way. You gave me the confidence to try and be somebody (an author!). You gave me this incredible life." (Full post here)

Please  join us as we welcome Matt back to Pacific on November 19.

Matt's visit is made possible by Latin American Studies, Latino Community Outreach, Beyond Our Gates, Ethnic Studies, Modern Languages and Literature, the Department of English, Pacific Arts and Lectures, and the College of the Pacific