A professor emeritus at Loyola Marymount University, Limón taught U.S. and Hispanic literature and also served as chair of the Department of Chicano and Chicana Studies. Currently a visiting professor at UCSB and UCLA, she teaches courses in Latina/Chicana narratives, border narratives, and contemporary Latin American literature. Although she has written extensively on Mexican, Latin American, and Caribbean literature, she now devotes her time to creative fiction. Her most recent novel, "The River Flows North," came out in April.
Limón is also the author of "Left Alive"; "Erased Faces," which received the 2002 Gustavus Myers Book Award; "The Day of the Moon"; "Memories of Ana Calderón"; and "In Search of Barnabé," which was awarded The Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award.
A native of Los Angeles and the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Limón received her undergraduate degree in Spanish literature from Marymount College. She completed her master's and doctoral degrees in the same field at the University of the Americas in Mexico City and at UCLA, respectively.
"Graciela Limón is one of the most productive of Chicana novelists and one of the best," said Mario T. García, professor of history and of Chicano and Chicana studies at UCSB, and the organizer of the annual Leal Award. "She is long overdue to receive major attention as a major American writer."
The Leal Award is named in honor of Luis Leal, a professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCSB, who is internationally recognized as a leading scholar of Chicano and Latino literature. Previous recipients of the award include Pat Mora, Alejandro Morales, Helena Maria Viramontes, Oscar Hijuelos, Rudolfo Anaya, and Denise Chávez.