Gary Soto, born April 12, 1952, was raised in Fresno, California. Mexican-American author and poet As his family had to struggle to find work, he had little time or encouragement in his studies, hence, he was not a good student. Soto notes that in spite of his early academic record, while at high school he found writers such as Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck. Soto attended Fresno City College and California State University, Fresno, where he earned his B.A. degree in English in 1974. He did graduate work in poetry writing at the University of California, Irvine, where he earned his M.F.A. in 1976. He states that he wanted to become a writer in college after discovering writers such as the contemporary poet James Wright.
He is the author of eleven poetry collections for adults and his poems have appeared in many literary magazines. In 1999, he received the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Author- Illustrator Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association, and the PEN Center West Book Award. Gary admires people who have done great service for others. As for his own service commitment, Gary has taught English to Spanish speakers as a volunteer. In his free time he likes to play tennis, tend his garden, attend musical concerts, and travel. Recently he has discovered that he enjoys baking cookies. He divides his time between Berkeley, California and his hometown of Fresno.
See more on Gary at http://www.garysoto.com/gallery.html