Her short stories have been published in a variety of literary journals. The major themes of her stories are informed by her childhood experiences in East Los Angeles, and the impact of César Chávez and the United Farm Workers on the life of her family. Many of her works feature strong female characters, and child protagonists figure prominently into her work. Other works have been deemed "democratic novels", in that no single protagonist dominates the storyline. Throughout all of her work, a love of life and of all of humanity pervades, despite poverty and the other challenges her characters face.
Viramontes is currently a professor of English at Cornell University.
Awards and honors
- National Endowment for the Arts National Endowment for the Arts, 1/1989
- Fellowship, Sundance Institute, 7/1989
- Under the Feet of Jesus, New Voices Quality Paperback Book, 1995
- Under the Feet of Jesus, finalist, Discover Great New Writers, 1996
- John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, 1996
- The Moths exhibited in Autrey Museum of Western Heritage, 5/1998-9/1998
- Alumna of the year, Immaculate Heart College, 10/2000
- Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa, St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame, 5/2000
- Featured with John Steinbeck and Carlos Bulosan on Oregon Public
- Broadcasting, "American Passages—A Literary Survey" #12, "The Migrant Struggle"
- Luis Leal Award, Santa Barbara Festival of Books, 2006
- Outstanding Latino/a Cultural Award in Literary Arts or Publications, 2007
- United State Artists Fellowship, 2007