Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 7:30 pm

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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Literary Arts

Hailed by NPR as a “master storyteller with a rock and roll heart,” Luis Alberto Urrea is a prolific and acclaimed best-selling poet, novelist, and essayist who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss, and triumph.

Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother and raised primarily in the United States, Urrea often felt like there was a border wall running through his family’s San Diego apartment, the kitchen being the United States; the living room Mexico, one side struggling with all her might to make him an American boy, and the other side, with all of his might, trying to keep him Mexican. Often confused as a child by his own dual culture, a “super-American look” combined with a “super-Mexican outlook and accent,” as an adult, Urrea realized that he could draw on his heritage in his work.

Most recognized as a so-called “border writer,” he claims to be more interested in bridges than borders. The tragic murder of his father on a trip to his home village to retrieve money to spend on Urrea’s college graduation inadvertently launched his writing career when he wrote an essay about the incident published in 1980 as way of processing his grief.

A 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Urrea since became the critically acclaimed and best-selling author of 17 books, winning numerous awards like the Lannan Literary Award, an Edgar Award, and a 2017 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, among many other honors.

His latest book, The House of Broken Angels, released in 2018, is “the story of an American family—one that happens to speak Spanish, and admire the Virgin of Guadalupe.” Inspired by the death of his brother, Urrea’s novel mines his own family history to tell a once-in-a-lifetime tale about a dying patriarch that assembles his relatives for a final, epic birthday party, well knowing it will be his last. Over the course of one weekend, the family members reminisce under the San Diego sun and stars, sharing stories about growing up in and then leaving Mexico to make a home in the U.S.

Urrea attended the University of California at San Diego, earning an undergraduate degree in writing, and did his graduate studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He currently lives with his family in Naperville, IL, outside of Chicago, and is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the largest event space at Benaroya Hall. 

Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Bus
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by bus and light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

Parking
The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.

Accessibility

SAL is for everyone. We want all audience members to be able to experience our lectures and readings regardless of accessibility concerns. Accessibility services at our venues are provided at no cost to ticket holders. If you find you need to sit closer to the stage to accommodate your needs but find the cost of a Patron ticket prohibitive, then please contact us—we will seat you where you need to be, regardless of cost.

Open Captioning occurs at every event that takes place at Benaroya Hall. It is also always available upon request for all events in our other halls, with a two-week minimum notice. To make a request for Open Captioning services, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

Assisted Listening Devices, including Hearing Loop Assisted Listening Systems, are available at all of our venues, with the exception of Broadway Performance Hall. If you would like more information, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

ASL-Interpretated Events are always available upon request, with a two-week minimum notice. To make a request for ASL interpretation, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

Wheelchair Accessible Ticketing is available in all sections at our venues, and and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. If you would like more information, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

For any further questions or requests, or to offer Seattle Arts & Lectures feedback on how we can be more accessible and inclusive, please reach out to our Patron Services Manager at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10.

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