Library of Congress

National Book Festival

At age 4, Maria Venegas emigrated from her home in Mexico to the United States. She grew up in Chicago, where she attended the University of Illinois and then moved to New York to pursue her writing. Her debut memoir, “Bulletproof Vest: The Ballad of an Outlaw and His Daughter,” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), portrays a deep narrative of her difficult relationship with her father. When she was younger, her father one day left in a bulletproof vest and never returned to his family. After learning of his legacy of brutal violence and revenge, the two were estranged for more than 14 years. Venegas returned to Mexico to reconnect with her father, and he shared stories from his dramatic life filled with a harsh culture of violence and retribution. In “Bulletproof Vest,” Venegas struggles to come to terms with her father’s actions, but learns the complexity of the situation that shaped his life, and with it, her own.

Previous National Book Festival Appearances

Maria Venegas

Photo by Ricco Long