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LC best-selling author is recipient of Governor’s Award for arts excellence


PHOTO: Las Cruces’ own New York Times best-selling author, Jennifer Cervantes, signs a copy of “Always Isn’t Forever,” her new book for young adults, during a book-signing event Saturday, June 3, at Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Mesilla Valley Mall. Cervantes also signed copies of the first book she has written for adults: “The Enchanted Hacienda.” Both books were released in June. “I’m a storyteller at heart,” Cervantes told those attending the book signing. “I write to understand the world.” A lot of the mystical elements of her books comes from her childhood and ‘everyday magic,” Cervantes said. “If I removed the sunset from your life, you would recognize Its magic,” she said. Visit jccervantes.com.

New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Cervantes of Las Cruces is among nine recipients of the 2023 New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

The awards were announced Aug. 3 by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (NMDCA).

Here is NMDCA’s biography of Cervantes:

Cervantes “is a New York Times best-selling author. She has published 10 books across multiple age categories and in more than 12 countries. Her books have appeared on national lists, including the American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble’s Best Books and Amazon, and Apple Books of the Month. Cervantes has earned multiple awards and recognitions, including the New Mexico Book Award.

Cervantes was recognized in March at the New Mexico State University College of Arts and Sciences ‘start of arts and humanities.”

Cervantes’ first book was “Tortilla Sun,” which she wrote in 2010 as a story for her youngest daughter about her treasured “Julie Bear” stuffed animal. Today, Cervantes is writing full time and connecting with readers across the country and around world.

She signed copies of her newest books, “The Enchanted Hacienda” and “Always Isn’t Forever” June 3 at Barnes & Noble in Las Cruces.

"I want to congratulate the 2023 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts winners," said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. "This year’s recipients come from every corner of the state, showcasing the immense possibilities of the arts across New Mexico. These artists are musicians, authors, sculptors and designers who push the boundaries of telling stories about the state and their lives through art. I am proud to recognize and show off such talent to the rest of the world."

This year is the 49th year for the awards, which were created “to celebrate the extensive role artists and their work play in New Mexico,” NMDOC said. This year’s recipients represent not only the extraordinary diversity of New Mexico’s rich cultural traditions, but the depth and generosity such diversity encourages. The artists work in a variety of forms and materials, ranging from visual art to writing to music to sculpture, while the major contributors work tirelessly in their communities to support the New Mexico Arts, a division of NMDCA, will host a pair of events Friday, Oct. 20, recognizing this year’s and last year’s award recipients. An exhibition of work from the 2023 recipients will open in the Governor’s Gallery in the Roundhouse in Santa Fe, coupled with an opening reception at 2 p.m. Oct. 20. The awards ceremony will be held 5-7 p.m. that evening at New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.

Other state winners were Paula Castillo of Belen, J.C. Cervantes of Las Cruces, Raven Chacon (Diné) of Albuquerque, Judy and Ray Dewey of Albuquerque, Jim Harris of Hobbs, Patricia Michaels of Taos, Mark Ian Saxe of Dixon and Judy Tuwaletstiwa of Galisteo.