Cherríe Moraga is the 2022 recipient of the Publishing Triangle’s Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement, named in honor of the legendary editor of the 1970s and 1980s. You can watch her acceptance speech below or watch on the Publishing Triangle’s YouTube channel.
Cherríe Moraga is an internationally recognized poet, essayist, and playwright whose professional life began in 1981 with her co-editorship of the groundbreaking feminist anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. She is the author of several collections of her own writings, including the essay collection A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness. Her most recent book, Native Country of the Heart, a memoir, was published to great acclaim in 2019. Three earlier works—Loving in the War Years, The Last Generation, and Waiting in the Wings: Portrait of a Queer Motherhood—will be reissued in new editions by Haymarket Books in 2022 and 2023.
Moraga is the recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature and the American Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award, an NEA, two Fund for New American Plays Awards, and the PEN West Award. She is a professor in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where with her artistic partner, Celia Herrera Rodriguez, she has instituted Las Maestras Center for Xicana(x) Indigenous Thought, Art, and Social Practice. Moraga will receive a prize of $3000 with this award.
In her thank-you remarks, which were recorded immediately after the news of the draft Supreme Court decision overruling Roe v. Wade, Moraga expressed “a deep sense of gratitude that we even have the opportunity to have this award and I’m given the opportunity to speak to it in some way, to have voice.” She observed, “We still live under the same old and unchanging face of the cruelties of justice, its silences, its perversions, its plain ignorance. How does one counter ignorance? I’d like to believe that writers write for just that purpose.” Noting some of the previous winners of the Whitehead award, including teachers and mentors, Moraga said, “I am grateful for this award, perhaps above all else to be in the distinguished company of those wordsmiths who shaped my own life.”