Dr. Oriel María Siu
Oriel María Siu (1981) is from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Daughter to a strong & mighty Pipil-Salvadoran-Guatemalan mother, and a dedicated Chinese Nicaraguan father, Oriel had to leave her homeland for Los Angeles, California, in 1997.
She has since dedicated herself to the creation of cultural and academic spaces for the growing Central American, Black and Brown communities in the U.S., helping to establish the first Central American Studies Program at California State University, Northridge in 1999, and founding the Latina/o Studies program at the University of Puget Sound in 2012. Throughout her journey as an educator, Dr. Siu has remained a strong proponent of Ethnic Studies, contributing her research, writing and teaching to sustaining and expanding the field.
Dr. Siu holds a Masters in Latin American Literatures from UC Berkeley, and a Doctoral Degree in Cultural Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has taught courses on race, immigration, Central American, Chicana/o and Latinx literatures, while publishing multiple articles, chapters, and academic works on these topics in numerous national and international journals and books. Among the universities where Dr. Siu has taught are UCLA, the University of Puget Sound, Chapman University, and Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.
After becoming a mother in 2013, Dr. Siu encountered the problem all socially-conscious parents face: the lack of inspiring, empowering, historically on-point, and culturally sensitive books for children of color in the U.S. So she decided to write her own. She is now writing the children’s book series, Rebeldita the Fearless / Rebeldita la Alegre, published by Izote Press. In this series, Dr. Siu centralizes the power of children vis-a-vis destructive ogre-forces living in society.
Dr. Siu is also a dancer, with Kizomba and Dominican bachata being two of her dance loves. She lives and writes out of Los Angeles, California, and San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with her daughter Suletu Ixakbal.
In 2020, Dr. Siu was selected "Top Ten New Latino Latinx Authors" by Latino Stories for her contributions to children's literature in the United States.