Felicia Luna Lemus was born on a spring day in Boston to two science nerds with stars in their eyes and flowers in their hair, and was raised by an extended network of familia in SoCal’s OVC (Orange Barrio, Cypress Street). She lived next door to the Sunkist packinghouse and the railroad tracks, learned English watching Sesame Street, and spent many an afternoon bouncing a handball against the old school cholo murals that adorned the streetside wall of her great-grandparents’ little neighborhood grocery store. Librarians were her heroes and The Twilight Zone was and will forever be her favorite television show. To this day, she has hippie-dippy Technicolor dreams and feels most at home in the urban borderlands where nopales and concrete meet.
After participating in 4-H, competing in Academic Decathlon, completing an excessive amount of theater training, graduating high school at age 16, and attending community college while serving a stint as a sadly uptight coffee house assistant manager, Felicia studied History and became a Peer Academic Advisor at the University of California at Irvine (Zot! Zot! Zot!), graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa (1997), earned an MFA in Writing from CalArts (2000), and followed her passionate belief in the importance of early literacy skills to the UCLA Teacher Education Program (Graduate Opportunity Fellow, Multiple Subject Credential, Bilingual Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development Certificate, 2011).
Felicia is the author of the novels Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003; Seal Press, 2004) and Like Son (Akashic Books, 2007). Her writing has appeared in publications including BOMB, The Believer, ZYZZYVA, The California Sunday Magazine, and Latina Magazine, and has been anthologized in numerous collections, including Lengua Fresca: Latino Writers on the Edge (Houghton Mifflin, co-edited by National Book Foundation former Executive Director Harold Augenbraum), Fifteen Candles: Fifteen Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles and other Quinceañera Stories (HarperCollins), It’s So You: 35 Women Write About Personal Expression Through Fashion & Style (Seal Press), and Here She Comes Now: Women in Music Who Have Changed Our Lives (Rare Bird Books).
She has been an invited author and speaker at museums, literary spaces, and universities, including the National Museum of Mexican Art, the UCLA Hammer Museum, KGB Bar, The Kitchen, Pen Center USA, The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, the U.S.C. Center for Feminist Research, Bard College, Boricua College, New Mexico State University Las Cruces, Stanford, Cornell, Yale and Harvard.
Honors for her writing include a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Fiction Fellowship (2004), an Astraea Writers’ Fund Honorable Mention in Fiction (2002), Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction Finalist (2007), and the Believer Book Award Fiction Longlist (2008).
Felicia is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor and the 2018-2019 Visiting Writer at Pitzer College. She has previously served as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at California State University San Bernardino, and as Associate Faculty in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles. She has also taught at The New School, the UCLA Writers’ Program, and as a kindergarten teacher in urban Los Angeles.
Sharpie Ultra Fine black markers and crossword puzzles are among her favorite things. She lives in Northeast Los Angeles with her spouse, their wild ones, and two Great Horned owls.