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Gregory Orfalea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gregory Orfalea
BornGregory Orfalea
(1949-08-09) August 9, 1949 (age 71)
Los Angeles, California, United States
OccupationPoet, writer
GenrePoetry, short story, biography
Notable works"Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra's Dream and the Founding of California"

Gregory Orfalea is an American writer, the author or editor of nine books, including his most recent works, the biography Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra's Dream and the Founding of California (Scribner, 2014) and a short story collection, The Man Who Guarded the Bomb (Syracuse UP, 2010).


Orfalea was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. His grandparents immigrated to the United States from Syria and Lebanon between 1890 and 1920; his ancestral towns include Homs and Arbin, Syria; and Mheiti, Lebanon. He is cousins with Paul Orfalea, founder of the stationery store Kinkos.


Orfalea has taught graduate and undergraduate school at the Claremont Colleges, Georgetown University, and Westmont College, where he is currently director of the Center for California Studies. He teaches creative nonfiction, the short story, the literature of California, and Middle Eastern émigré literature.[1]

Critical review

Kirkus Review said of Journey to the Sun: "A California story has become an American story." The San Francisco Chronicle said, "Orfalea writes from his own spiritual heart and soars into the realm of poetry... His drama never lags."[citation needed] Dr. Allan Figueroa Deck, Cassasa Chair and Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University noted, "Serra comes alive in this volume as in no other."[citation needed] About the memoir of Orfalea's youth in Los Angeles, Richard Rodriguez said, "These essays, recollecting Gregory Orfalea's American life, are delightful and wise."[citation needed]

Angeleno Days won the Arab American Book Award[2] and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Prize.[3]



  • Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra's Dream and the Founding of California (2014)
  • The Man Who Guarded the Bomb (2010)
  • Messengers of the Lost Battalion: The Heroic 551st and the Turning of Tide at the Battle of the Bulge (2010)
  • Angeleno Days: An Arab American Writer on Family, Place, and Politics (2009)
  • The Arab Americans: A History (2005)
  • Up All Night: Practical Wisdom for Mothers and Fathers (2004), co-edited with Barbara Rosewicz
  • Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry (1999), co-edited with Sharif Elmusa


  1. ^ Simon and Schuster authors' website
  2. ^ "2010 Book Award Winners". Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  3. ^ "Westmont | English". Retrieved December 11, 2018.


This page was last edited on 3 April 2021, at 20:47
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