Judith Ortiz Cofer: Selected Nonfiction Background

Judith Ortiz Cofer: Selected Nonfiction Background

Born in 1952 in Puerto Rico, Judith Ortiz Cofer would go on to become a renowned writer, whose work spanned numerous genres. After her family immigrated to New Jersey when Cofer was 4, they again relocated to Augusta, Georgia in 1967. Cofer would go on to study at Augusta College, receiving a BA in English. She would later receive a Master of Arts from the Florida Atlantic University. From 1984 until 2013, Cofer taught creative writing at the University of Georgia.

Cofer's first poetry collection was released in 1986. Peregrina was a success, and Cofer was awarded the Riverstone International Chapbook Competition. She followed up with another collection in 1987, and in 1989 was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her prose fiction work, The Line of the Sun. After these three early works, she began to expand the scope of her work, ad moved on to writing prose. She published her first memoir in 1991. She continued to publish in a variety of genres, including children's books, before dying of cancer of cancer in 2016.

Much of Cofer's work considers the way in which race effects the lived experiences of individuals. As both an American and Puerto Rican, she was sensitive to the complicated nature of nationality, heritage and language. Her work also tells the stories of women living in male-dominated societies. She offered glimpses inside domestic spheres, and told stories otherwise untold, and was awarded acclaim for doing so. In 2000, Cofer published Women in Front of the Sun. Named after a painting by Joan Miro, the work of nonfiction delves into her creative processes and her views as a writer. She offers biographical accounts, and encourages her readers to follow their passions. The work, which melds nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, is the perfect legacy for a diverse, talented, and honest writer.

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