Benjamin Alire Sáenz was born in 1954 in his grandmother's house in Old Picacho, a small farming village in the outskirts of Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1954. He was the fourth of seven children and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla Park. Later, when the family lost the farm, his father returned to his former occupation as a cement finisher. His mother worked as a cleaning woman and a factory worker. During his youth, he performed various jobs: painting apartments, installing roofs, picking onions, and working for a janitorial service. A fronterizo — person of the border — and visual artist, political and cultural activist, novelist, poet, essayist, and writer of children's books, Sáenz is an associate professor in the MFA creative writing program at the University of Texas at El Paso, the only bilingual creative writing program in the country. His books include Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood, A Perfect Season for Dreaming, Calendar of Dust, Flowers for the Broken, Carry Me Like Water, Dark and Perfect Angels, In Perfect Light, Names on a Map, He Forgot to Say Goodbye, Elegies in Blue, and Dreaming the End of War.