Gregory Orfalea

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Gregory Orfalea is an American writer, born and raised in Los Angeles, California. The author or editor of nine books, his most recent works are 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's 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. 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]

His notable works include Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra's Dream and the Founding of California, 'The Man Who Guarded the Bomb, 'Angeleno Days: An Arab American Writer on Family, Place, and Politics, The Arab Americans: A History, and Messengers of the Lost Battalion: The Heroic 551st and the Turning of Tide at the Battle of the Bulge. He is also the co-editor (with Sharif Elmusa) of Grape Leaves: A century of Arab-American Poetry and (with Barbara Rosewicz) of Up All Night: Practical Wisdom for Mothers and Fathers.

Kirkus Review said of Journey to the Sun: "A California story has become an American story," the San Francisco Chronicle, "Orfalea writes from his own spiritual heart and soars into the realm of poetry. . .His drama never lags." 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." Angeleno Days won the Arab American Book Award and was a finalist for the Pen USA Prize. About that memoir of Orfalea's youth in Los Angeles, Richard Rodriguez has said, "These essays, recollecting Gregory Orfalea's American life, are delightful and wise."


  1. Simon and Schuster author speakers website