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About Lila Quintero Weaver
Darkroom: A Memoir in Black & White is Lila's first major publication. It began as an academic project that morphed into a fully realized graphic novel. Four years--that's how long it took Lila to crank out over 500 drawings and 250 pages. The book was released by The University of Alabama Press in March 2012.
Don't look for Lila's MFA creds. She is a self-taught visual artist and apprentice writer with a pretty good eye for picking how-to writing and art books and is not shy about asking craft-related questions from experts. She received her formal education from the University of Alabama.
Lila was thrilled to be named a finalist for the Small Press Expo 2012 Ignatz Award for Promising New Talent and for the graphic-novel category in the 2012 Cybils. The Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group designated Darkroom as a winner in its 2013 Notable Books for a Global Society. Recently, the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa announced Lila as its Druid Arts Awards Literary Artist for 2013.
Darkroom has a French counterpart and soon, a Swedish. In March 2013, the Parisian publisher Steinkis Editions released Darkroom: Mémoires en Noirs et Blancs. Lila's only regret is that her French grandfather and French-Argentine mother didn't live to see this happen.
The profile photo was taken by Alicia Anstead, Editor-in-Chief of The Writer Magazine. We met at Miami Book Fair International 2012.
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In 1961, when Lila was five, she and her family emigrated from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Marion, Alabama, in the heart of Alabama’s Black Belt. As educated, middle-class Latino immigrants in a region that was defined by segregation, the Quinteros occupied a privileged vantage from which to view the racially charged culture they inhabited. Weaver and her family were firsthand witnesses to key moments in the civil rights movement. But Darkroom is her personal story as well: chronicling what it was like being a Latina girl in the Jim Crow South, struggling to understand both a foreign country and the horrors of our nation’s race relations. Weaver, who was neither black nor white, observed very early on the inequalities in the American culture, with its blonde and blue-eyed feminine ideal. Throughout her life, Lila has struggled to find her place in this society and fought against the discrimination around her.
In a racially polarized classroom in 1970 Alabama, Lu’s talent for running track makes her a new best friend — and tests her mettle as she navigates the school’s social cliques.
Miss Garrett’s classroom is like every other at our school. White kids sit on one side and black kids on the other. I'm one of the few middle-rowers who split the difference.
Sixth-grader Lu Olivera just wants to keep her head down and get along with everyone in her class. Trouble is, Lu’s old friends have been changing lately — acting boy crazy and making snide remarks about Lu’s newfound talent for running track. Lu’s secret hope for a new friend is fellow runner Belinda Gresham, but in 1970 Red Grove, Alabama, blacks and whites don’t mix. As segregationist ex-governor George Wallace ramps up his campaign against the current governor, Albert Brewer, growing tensions in the state — and in the classroom — mean that Lu can’t stay neutral about the racial divide at school. Will she find the gumption to stand up for what’s right and to choose friends who do the same?