Writer Victor Cortes will celebrate the Chicago presentation of his third novel, “El Sabor Del Desden,” on Friday, Jan. 11 at Casa Michoacan, 1638 South Blue Island Avenue in Pilsen. This event follows the successful debut of this novel, at Mexico City’s acclaimed La Feria Internacional del Libro. The novel follows the reality of the immigrant experience, including the aspirations, struggles and harsh realities immigrants face when arriving in the United States.
Cortes, from the state of Michoacan, established himself in Chicago in the early 70s. He immersed himself quickly in Pilsen and La Villita’s community efforts, while at the same time he was studying English and graphic design at the University of Illinois. His first autobiographical novel, “Avenida Hidalgo #82,” was published in 2006, officially marking his incursion in the literary world. “10 de Marzo, La Marcha,” his second offering, was published in 2008. This much sought after book, goes into eye-opening detail, along with first-hand testimonials and photographs, about the city-wide immigrant march and rally that took place in 2006. This was a historic day for the city and tens of thousands of people, who for the first time in Chicago, came together peacefully in solidarity for immigration reform. Most of his novels, including some essays in “Calaveras de Salsedo Press y Amigos” (2006), can be found at Librerias Giron, Librerias Las Americas and online at Amazon.
Cortes, in his early 60s, is well known in the Latino community for his activism and his passion for the community at large, especially for those involved with education and the arts. He is a co-owner of Salsedo Press, a worker’s cooperative, which he has been a part of for over thirty years. When asked about his personal experience as an immigrant, he says, unlike many others, the United States has treated him well. “Yes, even though things have gone relatively well for me, of course I’ve felt certain injustices and I’ve seen them up close. I’ve felt racism and unfortunately, these past few years, I’ve seen this grow,” he says. He goes on to explain that he believes immigrants are instruments of political manipulation, and the growing tension for these issues has grown as the economy continues to sour. He is hopeful that the current administration will live up to the promises made during the first term.
Cortes, along with his wife, currently resides in La Villita. He is the proud father of three beautiful daughters who each in their own unique way continue their father’s inspiration, making their mark in Chicago when it comes to social, political and educational issues. He believes today’s youth should be proud of their roots and strongly encourages them to educate themselves as much as possible. “Don’t waste any educational opportunities that come your way,” he said.
This post is also available in: Spanish
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