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Ingrid Rojas Conteras and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

July 30th, 6:00pm8:00pm

HOME MADE @ ARTogether

To center and honor diverse narratives that transcend borders and unite cultures, “HOME MADE @ ARTogether” is hosting a public reading and conversation event that features Ingrid Rojas Contreras and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo—two authors of immigrant backgrounds who have garnered accolades for their literary contributions. Join us for an enriching evening of literary exploration on Sunday, July 30th at 6pm PST (free admission—RSVP recommended). Hosted by Michelle Lin & Edward Gunawan.



Ingrid Rojas Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her memoir, The Man Who Could Move Clouds, was a Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist. It was a winner of a California Book Award. Her first novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree was the silver medal winner in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and a New York Times editor’s choice. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Cut, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere. Rojas Contreras has received numerous awards and fellowships from Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, VONA, Hedgebrook, The Camargo Foundation, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. She is a Visiting Writer at Saint Mary’s College. She lives in California.


Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of Children of the Land: a Memoir; Cenzontle, which was the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. prize; and Dulce, winner of the Drinking Gourd Prize. He is a founding member of the Undocupoets, which eliminated citizenship requirements from all major poetry book prizes in the U.S,  and was recognized with the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers award. He was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan. He currently teaches in the creative writing program at St. Mary’s University, and the Ashland Low-Res MFA Program, as well as poetry workshops for incarcerated youth in Northern California as the Yuba and Sutter County poet laureate.



About The Man Who Could Move Clouds

For Ingrid Rojas Contreras, magic runs in the family. Raised amidst the political violence of 1980s and ’90s Colombia, in a house where “what did you dream?” was the preferred greeting in place of “how are you?,” very little was out of the ordinary. Her maternal grandfather, Nono, was a renowned curandero, a community healer gifted with what the family called “the secrets: ” the power to talk to the dead, tell the future, treat the sick, and move the clouds. As a young girl Rojas Contreras spent her days eavesdropping on her mother’s fortune-telling clients and eagerly waiting for the phone calls from relatives reporting that her mother’s apparition had, yet again, visited them thousands of miles away from where Mami stood in the family’s kitchen.

So when Rojas Contreras, now living in the United States, suffered a head injury in her twenties that left her with amnesia–an accident eerily similar to a fall her mother took as a child, from which she woke not just with amnesia, but also the ability to see ghosts–the family assumed “the secrets” had been passed down once again.

Spurred by a shared dream among Mami and her sisters, and her own powerful urge to relearn her family history in the aftermath of her memory loss, Rojas Contreras joins her mother on a journey home to Colombia to disinter Nono’s remains. With her mother as her unpredictable, stubborn, and often hilarious guide, Rojas Contreras traces her lineage back to her Indigenous and Spanish roots, uncovering the violent and rigid colonial narrative that would eventually break her family into two camps: those who believe “the secrets” are a gift, and those who are convinced they are a curse. Interweaving family stories more enchanting than those in any novel, resurrected Colombian history, and her own deeply personal reckonings with the bounds of reality, Rojas Contreras writes her way through the incomprehensible and into her inheritance. The result is a luminous testament to the power of storytelling as a healing art and an invitation to embrace the extraordinary.


About Children of the Land

When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. Castillo regained his vision, but quickly understood that he had to move into a threshold of invisibility before settling in California with his parents and siblings. Thus began a new life of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention at all times for fear of being truly seen. 

Before Castillo was one of the most celebrated poets of a generation, he was a boy who perfected his English in the hopes that he might never seem extraordinary. With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his family’s encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives. He writes of the Sunday afternoon when he opened the door to an ICE officer who had one hand on his holster, of the hours he spent making a fake social security card so that he could work to support his family, of his father’s deportation and the decade that he spent waiting to return to his wife and children only to be denied reentry, and of his mother’s heartbreaking decision to leave her children and grandchildren so that she could be reunited with her estranged husband and retire from a life of hard labor. Children of the Land distills the trauma of displacement, illuminates the human lives behind the headlines and serves as a stunning meditation on what it means to be a man and a citizen.




Learn more about the HOME MADE @ ARTogether reading series here. 

We are proud to partner with Eastwind Books for book sales and signing for this event!

COVID-19 Safety

ARTogether Center abides by the COVID-19 safety regulations set by the city of Oakland. At this time, we are not requiring masks indoors, although masks and COVID-19 tests will be available on site. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or test positive for COVID-19, please do not attend this event for the health and safety of others.


ARTogether Center is located on the ground level and there are two entrance doors accessible from the sidewalk. There are two accessible bathrooms on the ground level of the building, each with a single stall and an accessible stall. Please reach out to michelle@artogether.org with your needs.



July 30th
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Event Category:


ARTogether Center
1200 Harrison St
Oakland, CA 94612 United States
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