S197. The Librotraficantes: Defying the Censorship of Banned Books

Room 207A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Saturday, February 11, 2017
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


In 2010, Arizona state legislators signed into law HB 2281, a ban on teaching Mexican American Studies. In Houston, Texas, a group of Chicano writers, poets, artists, and activists hatched an idea: They would bus those banned books into Tucson. “Librotraficantes,” they’d call themselves—book smugglers. Tony Diaz will speak about founding the movement, and Luis Rodriguez and Martín Espada will relate how their works were banned by the Arizona legislation as well as read from the banned books.



Gianna Mosser is the editor in chief of Northwestern University Press, where she acquires in critical ethnic studies, comparative literature, and Chicago regional titles. She also oversees the Curbstone imprint in global literature.

Martín Espada has published more than fifteen books. His new collection of poems is called Vivas to Those Who Have Failed. Other books of poems include The Trouble BallThe Republic of Poetry, and Alabanza. His honors include the Shelley Memorial Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Luis J. Rodriguez was named poet laureate of Los Angeles in 2014. He is the author of fifteen books across a number of genres. He has been the recipient of a PEN West/Josephine Miles Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He serves as founding editor of Tia Chucha Press and cofounder and president of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural and Bookstore in California.

Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, is the author of The Aztec Love God, leader of the Librotraficante Movement Freedom, and founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say. He's the first Chicano to receive an MFA from the UH creative writing program, and he cohosts the NP Radio Show.


March 23–26, 2022
Philadelphia, PA

Pennsylvania Convention Center