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Sandra Cisneros Sandra Cisneros was born in Chicago in 1954 to a Mexican father and a Chicana mother she has six brothers and is the only daughter in the family She moved frequently during her childhood and visited Mexico often to visit her paternal grandmother Like Esperanza the main character in The House on Mango Street Cisneros recalls these moves as painful experiences Because we moved so much and always in neighborhoods that appeared like France after World War II--empty lots and burned-out-buildings--I retreated inside myself bookragscom Cisneros found an outlet in writing in high school she wrote poetry and was the literary magazine editor She earned a BA in English from Loyola University of Chicago in 1976 However it wasnt until working on her masters degree at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop in the late 1970s that she says she found her particular voice as a working-class Mexican-American woman with an independent sexuality The experience of recognizing her difference from other students at Iowa eventually led to the writing of The House on Mango Street which was published by Arte Publico Press of Houston in 1984 and won the Before Columbus Foundations American Book Award in 1985 Returning to Chicago after graduate school Cisneros worked various jobs that engaged with the Chicano community including teaching high school drop outs she also returned to Loyola University as an administrative assistant In the late 1980s she divided her time between California and Texas earning a variety of fellowships and guest lectureships She won two fellowships from the National Endowment for the arts one for fiction 1982 and one for poetry 1987 During this time she wrote her first well received book of poetry My Wicked Wicked Ways 1987 She also met her literary agent Susan Bergholz who after seeing a small packet of short stories encouraged Cisneros to develop them into what was to becomeWoman Hollering Creek 1991 Much as the writer Esperanza promises to
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