Four renowned Mexican authors visited Westridge on Tuesday for a cultural exchange with the advanced Upper School Spanish class El Mundo Hispanico. Juan José Luna, Hilario Peña, Francisco Hinojosa, Martín Camps, and Rocío Cerón visited the University of San Diego, UC Merced, and Whittier College in addition to Westridge on their tour for a cultural exchange to stimulate dialogue between students and writers from Mexico.
In preparation for the exchange, students in El Mundo were given texts by the writers, links to performances by them, and lessons about writers from different regions of Mexico, and the realities of contemporary Mexico. Students translated sample passages and prepared questions for the writers who were chosen for their disparate genres and styles. Cerón, for example, is an internationally recognized poet and performance artist who has given presentations in London, Berlin, and Paris in addition to various cultural centers and universities in the US. Peña and Luna are both award-winning writers of noir fiction and detective fiction. Hinojosa is a celebrated writer of young adult fiction, and Martín Camps is an award-winning poet who is currently a professor at University of the Pacific.
During the presentation, which was conducted entirely in Spanish, students asked the writers questions about their work, the writing process, inspiration, and the importance of reading writers from other cultures and works in other languages. Other questions touched on the issue of contemporary politics and the relation between the United States and Mexico. Following the event, students had the unique opportunity to engage in more conversation with the writers at a special lunch.