Elizabeth Gonzalez James
Elizabeth grew up hearing the tale of her grandfather, Antonio Gonzalez, the real El Tragabalas. She has taken dramatic license with actual events in her novel, but there is a basis of fact to the story – for example, Gonzalez was indeed shot in the face by the Texas Rangers – that has also provided the basis for other dramatic interpretations over time. Elizabeth’s cousin, the Mexican movie star, Lalo Gonzalez, made a comedy about El Tragabalas in 1966, and well-known Texas folklorist, Jovita Gonzalez, produced a short story in 1935 riffing on the same legend.
Now the interviews editor at The Rumpus, Elizabeth’s stories and essays have appeared in The Idaho Review, The Rumpus, Ploughshares, PANK, and elsewhere, and have received numerous Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. Her first novel, Mona at Sea, was a finalist in the 2019 SFWP Literary Awards judged by Carmen Maria Machado, and was named a ‘Most Anticipated’ book by The Millions, The Rumpus, and other publications, with Elizabeth appearing on NPR’s Weekend Edition.