Saturday, November 5, 2016

"To Remember, To Understand": Transcript of a Keynote Speech On Researching and Writing The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire

Waaaay back in 2010-- Mexico's bicentennial year-- I gave the keynote speech for the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Harry Ransom Center University of Texas Austin, and ever since I have been meaning to post the transcript. Herewith:

Transcript of keynote for the meeting of the Board of Directors
Harry Ransom Center University of Texas Austin
April 22, 2010

It is such an honor and a delight to be here tonight. First a big thank you to Thomas Staley, Director of the Harry Ransom Center, and Danielle Brunne Sigler, Curator of Academic Affairs. And another big thank you, de corazón, to Mexico's Consul General here in Austin, Ambassador Rosalba Ojeda.

It was right here, in the Harry Ransom Center, that Ambassador Ojeda invited me to view the letters of Mexico's Emperor and Empress, Maximilian and Carlota if you haven't seen these extraordinary documents, you will they are in the wonderful exhibition "Viva Mexico's Independence."

This year, 2010, is a very special year to be celebrating Mexico's Independence, for it is both the bicentennial of Independence and the centennial of the Revolution. Sandwiched in between Independence and the Revolution is the 1860s, the time of Mexico's ferociously resisted second experiment in the monarchical form of government. This is the subject of my novel based on the true story: The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire.

Mexico had a prince? 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

On Seeing as an Artist or, Five Techniques for a Journey to Einfühlung

This is the transcript of my remarks for the panel "Writing Across Borders and Cultures" on October 15, 2016 at the Women Writing the West Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It includes a brief reading from The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire.

How many of you have been to Mexico? Well, viva Mexico! Here we are in New Mexico, Nuevo México. On this panel, with Dawn Wink and Kathryn Ferguson, it seems we are all about Mexico.
I write both fiction and nonfiction, most of it about Mexico because that is where I have been living for most of my adult life— that is, the past 30 years— married to a Mexican and living in Mexico City. 
But in this talk I would like to put on my sombrero, as it were, as an historical novelist, and although my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, is about Mexico, I don’t want to talk so much about Mexico as I do five specific, simple, powerful techniques that have helped me, and that I hope will help you to see as an artist and write across borders and cultures. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

In Cuernavaca's Historic Jardín Borda


In the winter of 1866 Maximilian brought his court to his Imperial Residence in Cuernavaca, what is today the Centro Cultural Jardín Borda. This past Friday July 1, 2016, I participated on a panel for the presentation Mexican historian and novelist José N. Iturriaga's latest anthology, Otros cien forasteros en Morelos. Here is the note about that from my main blog, Madam Mayo:

To see one's own country through the scribbles of foreigners can be at once discomfiting and illuminating. Of course, out of naiveté and presumption, foreigners get many things dead-wrong;  they also get many things confoundingly right. Like the child who asked why the emperor was wearing no clothes, oftentimes they point at things we have been blind to: beauty and wonders, silliness, perchance a cobwebby corner exuding one skanky stink. [...CONTINUE READING]

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Transcript Now Available: Monarchy in Mexico: An Interview with M.M. McAllen About MAXIMILIAN AND CARLOTA

At long last the complete transcript of my interview with historian M.M. McAllen about her splendid narrative history, Maximilian and Carlota: Europe's Last Empire in Mexico is now on-line. You can also listen in to the podcast anytime on either iTunes or podomatic, and yes, both the transcript and the podcast are free. 

I have been away from this blog in recent months because I have been at work on a book about Far West Texas. I hope to share news about that soon. The Abbé Domenech, who served as Maximilian's press secretary, will make a fleeting appearance. 

More anon. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Conversation with M.M. McAllen About Her Book, Maximilian and Carlota

Happy New Year! Just posted: A Conversation with M.M. McAllen, which is number 8 in my occasional podcast series "Conversations with Other Writers," about her magnificent narrative history Maximilian and Carlota: Europe's Last Empire in Mexico, published by Trinity University Press in 2014.

My blurb: 

"A deeply researched book about a period of Mexican history that, while vital for understanding modern Mexico and its relations with the United States and Europe, is of perhaps unparalleled cultural, political, and military complexity for such a short period."

William H. Beezeley, coeditor of The Oxford History of Mexico says:

"A thorough, complete history of Mexico's second empire. The author leaves nothing untouched."

And Luis Alberto Urrea says:

"M.M. McAllen has written an important book that not only reads like a novel of fantastic inventions but is key to understanding the soul of Mexico today."

> Listen in to this podcast any time here.

I'll be posting a complete transcript shortly.

>Visit M.M. McAllen at her website

> Listen in to all the other Conversations with Other Writers and/or read their transcripts here.


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