Richard Rodriguez has been called "one of the nation's most gifted and controversial writers." During the course of his unique career, he has distinguished himself as a leading writer, journalist, and commentator on the American West. Currently a Contributing Editor with the Los Angeles Times, he also serves in editorial positions with both the Pacific News Service, U.S. News and World Report, and Harpers Magazine.
Besides his involvement in print journalism, Rodriguez has written two books, Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982), and Days of Obligation (1992), and has worked on television as an essayist for the Lehrer Newshour and as a script writer for two BBC programs, including a
special on the U.S. - Mexico border.
Born in San Francisco and raised in Sacramento, Rodriguez attended a Roman Catholic grammer and high school. A graduate of Stanford University, he spent two years in the religious studies program at Columbia University before becoming a fellow at the Warburg Institute in London. He has also done doctoral work in Renaissance literature at the University of California at Berkeley.
Hunger of Memory, Rodriguez' autobiography, was greeted with great acclaim. In it, Rodriguez described the impact of schooling on his life and his opposition to such policies as bilingual education and affirmative action. The book won several awards, including the Gold Medal for non-fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California, the Christopher Prize for autobiography and the Ansfeld-Wolf Prize for Civil Rights from the Cleveland Foundation. His second book, Days of Obligation: An Argument With My Mexican Father was published by Viking Penguin in November of 1992 and was one of three finalists for a Pulitzer Prize in the non-fiction category in 1993.
Rodriguez won an Emmy Award for his Short Historical Essay entitled “Pearl Harbor Anniversary” (1992); he has alsoreceived the Frankel Medal from theNational Endowment for the Humanities (1992), the International Journalism Award from the World Affairs Council of California (1990), a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (1976), and a Fullbright Fellowship (1972).
In his upcoming book, Rodriguez discusses such topics as NAFTA; the Mexican dream of "El Norte;" overcrowding in Orange County, California; the meaning of Vancouver; coffee in Seattle; and the significance of the Pacific Northwest in the skinhead imagination.