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Matt de la Peña earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from SDSU in 2000. Matt de la Peña earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from SDSU in 2000.
 


From National City to the Newbery Medal

Matt de la Peña will return to SDSU to deliver the second Provost’s Distinguished Lecture on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
By SDSU News Team
 

Author Matt de la Peña (’00) follows the late writer Elmore Leonard’s advice to “get to the good stuff,” so you shouldn’t have to wait long to be entertained and enlightened at his upcoming lecture.

De la Peña will visit San Diego State University to deliver the second Provost’s Distinguished Lecture on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 2 p.m. in Montezuma Hall at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. The event is free and open to students, faculty and staff as well as the general public, but registration is requested at sdsu.edu/provostlecture. A live stream of the lecture will be available at this link.

The lecture, “Reading (and Writing) on the ‘Wrong’ Side of the Tracks: My Journey from National City to the Newbery Medal,” will highlight de la Peña's experience as a San Diego local growing up and making sense of the race and class distinctions around him, as well as discovering the threads that tie the community together.

Earlier this year, the American Library Association awarded de la Peña the John Newbery Medal, one of the most prestigious awards in children’s literature, for his children’s book, “Last Stop on Market Street.” The book will be available for purchase at the SDSU Bookstore, shopaztecs.com and prior to and following the lecture in Montezuma Hall.

About de la Peña’s work

De la Peña attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., on a basketball scholarship. While there, he became enamored with writing. He eventually earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from SDSU in 2000.

Calling on his experience with basketball, he wrote the novel “Ball Don’t Lie.” The book was adapted into a major motion picture in 2008. De la Peña’s best-selling book “Mexican WhiteBoy” can be found on high school and college reading lists.

In fall 2014, de la Peña sat down with 360 Magazine for an interview about his time at SDSU and how he got started on this career path.