Congratulations to Victoria Blanco, whose debut narrative nonfiction, Out of the Sierra: A Story of Rarámuri Resistance has been picked as a Winter/Spring 2024 Indies Introduce title!
Each year, the Indies Introduce program brings booksellers together from across the US for conversation and connection centered around exciting upcoming debut adult, middle grade, and young adult titles.
Victoria Blanco will join Coffee House Press staff at Winter Institute 24 in Cincinnati, OH for a special presentation and book signing.
All of us at Coffee House send our congratulations to Victoria and our thanks to the Indies Introduce judges for recognizing this beautiful debut!
Here's what bookseller panelists had to say about Out of the Sierra:
"Out of the Sierra will undo and challenge your expectations of nonfiction. A story collected through oral history and first-hand encounters, this book captures a history of a people who have long withstood being cataloged by Western history standards. Though it makes no direct reference to these things, simply by existing and sharing this story, Out of the Sierra stands in opposition to colonialism, capitalism, climate change, patriarchy, and white supremacy. This book exudes the beauty that is Indigenous way of life, and the horrors that occur when the violence of whiteness forces its way into the narrative." —Frances Metzger, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT
“A delicately told account of the Rarámuri, a native people of Mexico, that honors their history, traditions, and culture while recounting one family’s story as they adapt to modern Mexican life. Out of the Sierra emphasizes the small resistances of the family and their community as they fight to preserve their traditional way of life in an often hostile world. Simultaneously poetic yet journalistic, dramatic yet quiet, devastating but ultimately hopeful. Victoria Blanco, with the collaboration of the Gutiérrez family, has struck a balance that invites readers and uplifts the Rarámuri with dignity.” —Luis Correa, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
“Blanco writes an unparalleled work of narrative nonfiction that intricately captures a chronicle of everyday resistance in this story of the Rarámuri people, as social and environmental factors force them away from their communal society in the Sierra Madre mountains and into a different life in Chihuahua City.” —Stephanie Skees, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO
More about the Victoria Blanco and Out of the Sierra:One displaced Rarámuri family charts a path forward for themselves and their community in this testament to the power of perseverance and the many forms resistance can take.
The effects of climate catastrophe and Indigenous erasure are specific and unforgettable in Out of the Sierra’s vivid portrait of one Rarámuri family forced to leave their home in the Sierra Madre mountains. Displaced by drought and food shortages, Martina, Luis, and their children journey to Chihuahua City, toward a new and uncertain future in a government-funded Indigenous settlement.
With tenderness, intelligence, and deep insight into the many shapes resistance can take, Out of the Sierra offers a testimony to human resilience and the power of community in the face of broken systems. Blanco considers Indigenous resistance and identity, race, and climate change with compassion and care, asking: What can we learn from the Rarámuri people, who are resisting assimilation and upholding traditional knowledge in our era of climate catastrophe?
Based on more than a decade of oral history collection and participatory field work, Out of the Sierra elevates the stories of the Gutiérrez family and interrogates the systems and history that caused their displacement and poverty.
Victoria Blanco’s writing has been published in the New York Times, Catapult, Guernica, and others. She holds her MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota. She is from El Paso, Texas, and now lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three sons.