Ana Castillo is a celebrated poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator and independent scholar. As of 2014, she holds hold the Lund-Gil Endowed Chair at Dominican University (IL). Dr. Castillo's award-winning, bestselling works include So Far From God, The Guardians, Peel My Love like an Onion, I Ask the Impossible, and her novel Sapogonia was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Considered one of the leading voices in the Chicana experience, her work is known for its experimental style and socio-political comment based on oral and literary traditions.
Dr. Castillo holds a BA from Northeastern Illinois University, an MA from the University of Chicago (1979), a PhD in American Studies from the University of Bremen in Germany, and an honorary doctorate from Colby College. In addition to a prolific publication record dating back to 1977, she has contributed to periodicals, on-line venues (Salon and Oxygen), and national magazines, including More and the Sunday New York Times. Dr. Castillo’s writings have been the subject of numerous scholarly investigations and publications. She has been profiled and interviewed on National Public Radio, the History Channel, and was a radio-essayist with NPR in Chicago. She is editor of La Tolteca, an arts and literary ‘zine dedicated to the advancement of a world without borders and censorship and on the advisory board of the new American Writers Museum in D.C. Included among the many teaching appointments Dr. Castillo has held throughout her extensive career are: first Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Endowed Chair at DePaul University; and Poet-in-Residence at Westminster College.
Her journey to MIT began at a conference in which she spoke on the role of ecology in literature, and a participant encouraged her to consider a longer visit to the Institute. As an MLK Visiting Professor, Dr. Castillo was hosted by both the Department of Writing and Humanistic Studies and the Department of Women's and Gender Studies and lived on campus at Simmons Hall as a Residential Scholar. She taught two writing courses and read from her fifth novel, The Guardians, an exploration of family life along the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition to teaching and touring The Guardians, Dr. Castillo used the year to begin working on The Last Goddess Standing, a novel about women during the conquest of Mexico (see Dr. Castillo's 2012 keynote lecture for The Association for the Study of Women & Mythology.