Luis Alberto Urrea will give the fourth Ursrey Memorial Lecture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21 at Trinity United Methodist Church on Telfair Square.

With the generous support of Mrs. Alene Ursrey, Dr. John Hunt, and Betsy Cain, the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home (I was board president at the time) launched the Ashley and Terry Ursrey Memorial Lecture Series in 2008 in memory of the brothers Terry and Ashley Ursrey, native Georgians who, like Flannery O’Connor, were lifelong devotees of all things Southern, particularly the art of storytelling.

The first three Ursrey Memorial Lectures were given by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham (The Hours), man of letters Alan Gurganus (Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All), and National Book Award winner Jaimy Gordon (Lord of Misrule). Urrea seems like a great author to extend that impressive list.

From the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home‘s press release:

Luis Alberto Urrea is a prolific and award-winning writer. Born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother, Luis grew up in San Diego, California. He is a master of language and a gifted storyteller who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss, and triumph. The author of fourteen books, Luis Urrea has published extensively in many genres and has received many prestigious awards. The Devil’s Highway, his 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His highly acclaimed historical novels, The Hummingbird’s Daughter and Queen of America, tell the story of Teresita Urrea, a great aunt who was a healer and Mexican folk hero at the turn of the 20th century. Luis is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He lives with his wife Cinderella (“Cindy”) and their youngest daughter in Naperville, IL.

The event is free and open to the public. There will be a reception and book signing immediately following the lecture.

Here’s a fascinating full hour of Urrea in an interview with Bill Moyers earlier this year, discussing the U.S.-Mexican border:

Urrea (pronounced oo-RAY-uh) has a great website, with an entertaining blog and other features.

It’s always hard to know how many Savannahians will turn out for literary events like this one, but we on the board of the Childhood Home sure hope to see a lot of you there.

Click here for the Facebook event invite.