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Best Reading Series Houston 2001 - Nuestra Palabra, Talento Bilingue de Houston, Guadalupe Plaza, 333 S. Jensen, 713-867-8943, www.nuestrapalabra.org

Tony Diaz read science fiction until, at the age of 20, he discovered there were authors out there who had similar experiences and backgrounds. Despite a growing Hispanic population, he found he was one of the few Latinos in the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, in a city bereft of outlets for Latino voices. Tired of having his book rejected because "Latinos don't read," he started a little reading series on the fourth Wednesday of every month with the humble goal of giving Latinos their say. Three short years later, he showed that not only do Latinos read, they also write, act, direct and do sketch comedy. He's got his own Tuesday-night radio show, a public access television show, and hosted the New York Times Speaker Series "Latino Voices," all of which has helped make Houston a national center for the boom in Latino literature. New York is just beginning to try to catch up.

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