Brando Skyhorse: Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Brando Skyhorse

Award-Winning Author

Brando Skyhorse worked in publishing for ten years. Having worked as both an editor, and now a writer, of both fiction and non-fiction, Skyhorse's unique perspective from both sides of the editorial desk gives him detailed insight into the ins and outs of the publishing and acquisitions process.

In addition to working behind the scenes in publishing, Skyhorse released his first novel, The Madonnas of Echo Park, in 2010. Like the Academy Award–winning film Crash, The Madonnas of Echo Park follows the intersections of its characters and cultures in Los Angeles. In the footsteps of Junot DÍaz and Sherman Alexie, Skyhorse in his debut novel gives voice to one neighborhood in Los Angeles with an astonishing—and unforgettable—lyrical power. It received the 2011 PEN/Hemingway award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Madonnas of Echo Park paints the portrait of the Esperanzas, a multi-generation Mexican-American family living in Echo Park, Los Angeles, and their daily struggle to achieve the “new” American Dream. Using a shared narrative of the Esperanzas and a selection of their close neighbors from the community, Skyhorse introduces readers to the ever evolving social struggle of an ethnic group that must constantly fight to assimilate into a culture it works to support. Drawing inspiration from his own childhood experience as a Mexican-American in California, Skyhorse calls audiences’ attention to the shocking realities of everyday immigrant life, and explores the complexity of determining one’s nationality and identity.

In 2014, Skyhorse released his second book, Take This Man, a stunning, heartfelt memoir in the vein of The Glass Castle or The Tender Bar. It is the true story of a boy’s turbulent childhood growing up with five stepfathers and the mother who was determined to give her son everything but the truth.

When he was three years old, Brando Kelly Ulloa was abandoned by his Mexican father. His mother, Maria, dreaming of a more exciting life, saw no reason for her son to live his life as a Mexican just because he started out as one. The life of “Brando Skyhorse,” the American Indian son of an incarcerated political activist, was about to begin.

Through a series of letters to Paul Skyhorse Johnson, a stranger in prison for armed robbery, Maria reinvents herself and her young son as American Indians in the colorful Mexican-American neighborhood of Echo Park, California. There Brando and his mother live with his acerbic grandmother and a rotating cast of surrogate fathers. It will be over thirty years before Brando begins to untangle the truth of his own past, when a surprise discovery online leads him to his biological father at last.

From an acclaimed, prize-winning novelist celebrated for his “indelible storytelling” (O, The Oprah Magazine), this extraordinary literary memoir captures a son’s single-minded search for a father wherever he can find one. It was named one of Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Books of 2014.

Skyhorse currently lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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