His best-selling nonfiction book "The Devil's Highway" was a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist. His widely acclaimed novel "The Hummingbird's Daughter" recently shared Pacific Rim Voices' $30,000 Kiriyama Prize for fiction, an award celebrating literature that contributes to greater understanding of the people and nations of the Pacific Rim and Southeast Asia.
Urrea, 50, is about to launch a major book tour promoting the paperback release of "The Hummingbird's Daughter." With the recent national debate over immigration, he is in hot demand on the lecture circuit.
Book critics have compared "The Hummingbird's Daughter" to the work of Nobel Prize-winning Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez. The novel is a fictional account about Urrea's great aunt, a Yaqui faith healer. And if that's not enough applause, both "The Devil's Highway" and "The Hummingbird's Daughter" will be made into motion pictures.
"I'm going crazy, man. Oye, right now it's the crazy season anyway because the big book tour is starting," Urrea said in a phone interview from his home near Chicago, where he teaches at the University of Illinois.
Urrea was among featured authors at the Border Book Festival, which concludes today in Mesilla.
How is Urrea adapting to his recent literary celebrity status?
"I approach it with gratitude. Most of the time, I'm the guy hassling my teenage son to take out the trash," he said. "Then you go somewhere else and people cry or they wait an hour to shake your hand. Then it's kind of startling."
You can find the review here