Mayor's Office

Press Release

City of Houston Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
Houston Public Library, Arte Público Press Partnership Offers Hispanic Literary Events



September 11, 2013 -- Mayor Annise Parker today announced the lineup of featured literary events for Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), spotlighting a programming partnership between the Houston Public Library (HPL) and Arte Público Press. The events included a preview screening of PBS’ “Latino Americans,” a book launch for Houston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda, and the Second Annual LibroFEST. All events are free and open to the public and part of a month-long HHM series of programs for all ages. More information on HPL’s HHM events can be found at


“Houston’s diversity is our strength,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “We recognize and celebrate our differences. This grouping of events will provide residents numerous opportunities to learn about Hispanics, their culture and history. As a poet myself, I am especially excited about the debut of the new book of poetry from the city’s first Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda.”


“We are delighted to join in the Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations by offering the community a wide range of resources, and educational and entertaining activities for the whole family,” said Houston Public Library Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson. “We know that Houston is a culturally diverse community, so we provide a large world languages collection of materials available in various languages as well as accessible programs and workshops throughout the year. The Houston Public Library links you to the world of multicultural and educational programs.”


Film Screening: “Latino Americans”
Houston Public Media, Arte Público Press, The Center for Mexican American Studies at UH, and HPL present a special preview screening of “Latino Americans,” a landmark six-part documentary series featuring interviews with nearly 100 Latinos and more than 500 years of history. The screening will be followed by a conversation with a panel including University of Houston law professor Michael A. Olivas, who appears in the documentary, and Raymond Telles, one of the series’ producers. The panel will be moderated by Houston arts entrepreneur Geraldina Interiano Wise.


The event is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first-come, first serve basis. Other event partners include Houston Public Media, the Houston Arts Alliance, and the University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies.


For more information on “Latino Americans,” visit


“Latino Americans” Preview Screening
Central Library, Program Place
500 McKinney, 77002
Thursday, September 12, 2013 | 6 PM


Book Launch: Houston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda
The community is invited for a special evening as Houston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda discusses her new poetry book, “Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners.” In this collection, Zepeda captures the aching loneliness and vulnerability of contemporary urban life.


Gwendolyn Zepeda is the author of a short-story collection, “To the Last Man I Slept With and All the Jerks Just Like Him” (Arte Público Press, 2004), and three novels: “Houston, We Have a Problema” (Grand Central Publishing, 2009), “Lone Star Legend” (Grand Central Publishing, 2010), and “Better with You Here" (Grand Central Publishing, 2012). A native of Houston, Texas, she is the Bayou City's very first Poet Laureate.


This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.


“Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners” Book Launch
Julia Ideson Building, Auditorium
550 McKinney, 77002
Thursday, September 19, 2013 | 6 PM


Second Annual LibroFEST
Houston LibroFEST is a book and arts festival for the general public that highlights Hispanic writers and showcases the vibrant culture of the Hispanic community. Houstonians will have a chance to meet authors, including Houston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda, Sarah Cortez, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Manuel Ramos, and René Saldaña, Jr. There will be storytelling, writing workshops, book giveaways, mariachis, and performances for children and adults. Performers will include the Express Children’s Theatre and the Houston Grand Opera’s Storybook Opera.


Other event partners include the Texas Book Festival, the Houston Arts Alliance, Writers in the Schools, the Society for the Performing Arts, Poets and Writers and the Houston Public Library Foundation. This event is free and open to the public.


Second Annual LibroFEST
Julia Ideson Building
550 McKinney, 77002
Saturday, October 5, 2013 | 1 PM - 5 PM


The community is invited to join Houston Public Library’s HHM celebration with educational programs and entertaining activities for the entire family. All events and programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call 832-393-1313.


About Arte Público Press
Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. 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 the home culture to that of the school, as well as to support family literacy and elementary school education. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity. For more information, please visit


About the Houston Public Library
The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 35 neighborhood libraries, four HPL Express Libraries, a Central Library, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, The African American Library at the Gregory School, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children’s Museum of Houston. Serving more than seven million customers per year in person and online, HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs by providing library customers with free use of a diverse collection of printed materials and electronic resources, Internet, laptop and computer use, and a variety of database and reference resources with live assistance online 24/7. For further information, visit the Houston Public Library at or call 832-393-1313.