Texas author who staged series of novels along the border dies

DALLAS (AP) — Romeo Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, an award-winning Texas author who began writing a series of novels in the 1970s telling the stories of people living in a fictional county along the Texas-Mexico border, is dead. He was 93 years old.

Hinojosa-Smith, an English professor at the University of Texas at Austin for more than 30 years, died Tuesday at an assisted living facility for dementia patients near Austin, his daughter, Clarissa Hinojosa, said.

Hinojosa-Smith, who has written in English and Spanish and published novels, essays and poems, is known for his “Klail City Death Trip” series, which chronicles the changes that have taken place in the Rio Grande Valley, in South Texas, where he grew up. at the top.

“The idea was the balance between life and death and to show humanity at all of its stages and people at all of their life stages,” Hinojosa said.

Hinojosa said it was important to his father, who was born in 1929 in Mercedes, that “the world knows the valley and loves it as much as he does”.

John Morán González, an English professor at UT-Austin, said the series “provided a sort of narrative, fictional form of a region of the country and a group of people who I think have rarely been fully recognized as part of the United States. ”

“I think this portrait is really important,” he said.

The National Book Critics Circle awarded Hinojosa-Smith its 2013 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, given to an individual who makes a significant contribution to book culture.

Jaime Armin Mejía, an associate professor of English at Texas State University, said Hinojosa-Smith not only helped expose the general public to Mexican-American literature, but also paved the way for others to be published. .

“I don’t think we would be where we are today without the efforts of (Hinojosa-Smith),” he said.

Hinojosa-Smith’s daughter said he loved teaching and has lectured around the world talking about his writings.

“He was charm personified,” Hinojosa said. “He was one of those people who, he could walk into a room and he just had that force of personality and people gravitated around him without him having to say a word.”


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Lola R. McClure