Gary Soto is an American novelist, poet, memoirist, and children’s book author. Gary Anthony Soto was born on April 12, 1952, in Fresno, California, to Manuel and Angie Soto. His father died when he was five years old, and his family faced financial difficulties. He became interested in poetry in high school and read authors such as Robert Frost, Jules Verne, and Ernest Hemingway. Gary has a B.A. in English and completed graduate studies at the University of California. He was the first Mexican-American to receive an M.F.A. and was appointed Distinguished Professor in 1976. He also became a well-known author and continues to write today.
Gary Soto was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1978 for his poetry collection The Tale of Sunlight.
Gary Soto’s first poetry collection, The Elements of San Joaquin, won the International Poetry Forum’s United States Award in 1976.
Gary Soto’s memoir, Living Up the Street, won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation in 1985.
In 1993, Gary Soto received the Andrew Carnegie Medal for his work on the film The Pool Party.
Gary has also won the Hispanic Award for Literature, the Bess Hokin Prize, the John and Patricia Beatty Award (twice), the Tomas Rivera Prize, and the Phoenix Award in 2014 for his children’s book Jesse.
Gary Soto has worked as a film producer, playwright, editor, author, poet, and professor, among other things.
Petty Crimes, New and Selected Poems, and Living Up the Streets are among Gary Soto’s notable works.