First-Time Novelist Starts 2019 with a BANG!

HOUSTON, TX February 2019—Daniel Peña’s debut novel, Bang, was awarded the 2019 Tejas Foco Fiction Award and was named a finalist for In the Margins’ 2019 Advocacy/Social Justice Award.

The Tejas Foco Fiction Award recognizes outstanding work that best represents a significant topic related to the Mexican-American experience in Texas. The prize is given by the Texas chapter of the National Association for Chicana/o Studies (NACCS), an organization that serves academic programs, departments and research centers focusing on issues pertinent to Mexican Americans, Chicana/os and Latina/os.

In the Margins (ITM) is a committee under the umbrella of Library Services for Youth in Custody, an organization serving the needs of and advocating for those who provide library services for youth in custody which includes local and federal facilities, ICE detention centers and mental health or rehab centers. The ITM committee seeks to highlight the best fiction and non-fiction titles of high-interest appeal to youth, ages 9-21, living in poverty, on the streets or in custody. The complete list of recommended titles can be found here.

Vividly portraying the impact of international drug smuggling, Peña’s novel probes the loss of talented individuals and the black market machines fed with the people removed and shut out of America.

Bang has received rave reviews:

“Peña provides a window into the struggles of immigrants on the border as well as the violent drug war fueling the migration. A piercing tale of lives broken by border violence.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A riveting exploration of a family caught in turmoil. [Peña does] an incredible job of capturing the state of fear that accompanies being undocumented.”—Chicago Review of Books

“Daniel Peña’s debut novel reminds me of a bantamweight boxer. Lean and compact, it is packed with energy, ready to land blow after punch after jab on any reader who dares to underestimate it.”—Texas Observer

DANIEL PEÑA, a Pushcart Prize-winning writer, is an assistant professor at the University of Houston-Downtown, where he teaches in the Department of English. Previously he was at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, where he worked as a writer, blogger, book reviewer and journalist. A Cornell University graduate and Fulbright-García Robles scholar, his fiction has been widely published, appearing in such journals as PloughsharesThe RumpusCallalooand the Kenyon Review Online.

ARTE PÚBLICO PRESS is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by US Hispanic authors.  Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the realistic and authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Books published under the imprint are designed to serve as a bridge from school to home to support family literacy and elementary school education. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity.