Mario J. Gonzales was born in Fresno, California. He was raised in Parlier, California, a Mexican-American community his grandparents settled in as farmworkers in the 1920’s. Mario graduated from California State University, Fresno in 1988 with a degree in Psychology. In 1993 he received a master’s in Southwest studies from New Mexico Highlands University and in 1997 he earned a doctorate from Washington State University in Cultural Anthropology. Along the way he was worked moving other people’s furniture, picked raisin grapes, worked in the cold storage of fruit packing sheds, played high school football with the starting quarterback of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, hitchhiked in Europe and Mexico, almost drowned in a Oaxacan river and had nice conversations with Rigoberta Menchu, bell hooks and A.L. Kennedy as well as many others.
For the past fourteen years he has been a professor of cultural anthropology in Texas and New Mexico. His fiction and non-fiction can be found in the Wicazo Sa Review, Rio Grande Review, The Santa Fe Reporter, The Bacon Review, The Cossack Review and Red Ochre LiT.
Currently he lives in Santa Fe, NM with his three children. He continues to write fiction and non-fiction and dedicates his award to his children, his mother and Tia without whom meaningful words would not be possible.