Gil Cuadros

Gil Cuadros (1962–1996) was a groundbreaking gay Latino writer whose work explored the intersections of sexuality, race, and spirituality. Diagnosed as HIV positive in 1987, Cuadros channeled his experiences into his acclaimed collection, City of God (published by City Lights in 1994), which captured the raw emotions of living with a life-threatening illness. His lyrical intensity and unflinching honesty shined a light on marginalized communities and familial expectations. The book was highly acclaimed when it was first published and captured the attention of prominent writers in the literary community, among them Paul Monette, Eloise Klein Healy, and Wanda Coleman. In the thirty years since, City of God has gone on to become a classic of Chicanx literature.

In June of 2024, City Lights will publish My Body is Paper, an unpublished body of work from Cuadros that is destined to capture the attention of an entirely new generation of readers. Although written more than a quarter century ago, these captivating stories and evocative poems leave an indelible mark, speaking to issues we grapple with today—sex, spirit, family, religion, culture of origin, and the betrayals of the body.

During his lifetime, Gil Cuadros published stories and poems in Indivisible, High Risk 2, and Blood Whispers. His work is also on the compact disc, Verdict and the Violence: Poet's Response to the LA Uprising. He was awarded the 1991 Brody Literature Fellowship, and was one of the first recipients of the PEN Center USA/West grant to writers with HIV. Cuadros was a resident of West Hollywood when he died in 1996 at the age of thirty-four.

Photograph by Laura Aguilar © The Laura Aguilar Trust of 2016

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