The Madonnas of Echo Park Selected for Summer Reading Program

The Madonnas of Echo Park Book Cover

June 16, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The award-winning novel The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse has been chosen for Illinois Wesleyan University’s 2014 Summer Reading Program.

Selected by the Advising and Summer Reading Committee in coordination with the University’s Speakers Committee, the book represents the University’s mission and commitment toward diversity and social justice in a global society. Incoming first-year students will discuss the book at small group meetings with faculty, staff and alumni on Wednesday, Aug. 20 during Turning Titan: New Student Orientation.

The Madonnas of Echo Park consists of interconnected fictional stories about Mexican Americans living in Echo Park, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. Each character in the novel portrays a different perspective and voice as they encounter problems with gang violence, deportation, discrimination, social class, cultural identity and loss of home and land. The Madonnas of Echo Park helps readers to gain insight into the lives of Mexican Americans, and the hardships they face while struggling to find their piece of the American dream.

A review in Publishers Weekly said, “Skyhorse excels at building a vibrant community and presenting several perspectives on what it means to be Mexican in America, from those who wonder ‘how can you lose something that never belonged to you?’ to those who miraculously find it.”

Skyhorse was born and raised in Echo Park, Calif., and is a graduate of Stanford University and the MFA Writers’ Workshop program at the University of California, Irvine. He received the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award and the 2011 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for The Madonnas of Echo Park.

Skyhorse is scheduled as the speaker for the President’s Convocation on Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 11 a.m.

Contact: Danielle Kamp, (309) 556-3181,