Multi-award winning author, educator, dynamic speaker, and community activist    

Contact Stella

Inspired to write by a prophetic dream of her father in 1995, Irish Latina author, Stella Pope Duarte, believes that writing, like love, begins within, or it doesn’t start at all. Hailed by critics as a “major, literary voice in America,” Duarte is described by reviewers as a “magical weaver with a sure hand and a pure heart,” and as an author who “will enlarge humanity.” Her works include: Fragile Night, Let Their Spirits Dance, If I Die in Juarez, Women Who Live in Coffee Shops and Other Stories, Writing Through Revelations, Visions and Dreams: The memoir of a writer’s soul, and Raul H. Yzaguirre: Seated at the Table of Power. Her literary works have won awards and honors nationwide, including a 2009 American Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize nomination, Southwest Book of the Year Award, Women in American History Award, nomination for ONE BOOK AZ, Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Independent Publisher’s Book of he Year Award, AZ Highways Magazine Book of the Year Award,  a Book Sense 76 Selection, and the Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature from UC at Santa Barbara. She has twice been awarded a creative writing fellowship by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and in 2005 was awarded the “Alumni of the Year” by the American Association of Community Colleges. In 2013 Duarte was honored as one of four Women Makers of Arizona, and included as part of the PBS Special: MAKERS: Women Who Make America. She has been featured on C-Span, PBS, Horizonte, AZ Channel 12, NPR, Books & Company, Book Critics Circle, New York Times, Dallas Morning News, Notre Dame Observer, Arizona Republic, El Paso Times, Publishers Weekly, Latino Perspectives Magazine, Ms. Magazine and many more national outlets.

A graduate of Phoenix College, Duarte went on to earn a B.A. in Education, a Minor in Sociology, and a Masters in Counseling from Arizona State University, she is also an ESL/Bilingual endorsed educator. Ms. Duarte has taught education and creative writing for colleges, universities, community centers and also conducts creative writing workshops for students of all ages.  Duarte’s work explores the human heart as her characters move between profound truth, darkness, regret, and exhilarating joy. Her writing is described as transformational, inspiring, heartwarming, and “good for the soul.” She is unafraid to face society’s most pressing problems and often researches for years, investigating issues that oppress the most vulnerable among us. She has walked the red light districts of Ciudad Juarez, made her way through the jungles of the Mekong Delta, and conducted hundreds of interviews across the nation to complete work on her novels. “I had never even been on an airplane, until I started writing. The only place we ever went to when I was a child was to the cemetery on Sundays.” As an author she has traveled extensively throughout the U.S., and has enjoyed visiting other countries as well. (See “Places I’ve Been” for sample list of local and national sites visited)

Born and raised in the Sonorita Barrio in South Phoenix, Duarte currently writes from her home in Phoenix, Arizona a few miles away from the place of her birth. While keeping up with her four children, and grandchildren, she reflects “I often stare with wonder at the beautiful faces of my family, and consider myself truly blessed.” The trials of a writer’s life are made less tedious by the love of family and friends, and her commitment to understanding the “language of her own soul,” and living out the high purpose of her life keeps her open to fresh new ideas and ways to face the world’s darkness through her writing.

Ms. Duarte is a highly sought-after inspirational speaker, and a favorite keynote speaker for audiences of all ages, on topics related to her work, as well as on issues related to: women’s  rights, culture, diversity, leadership, education, literacy, Chicano/Latino history, writing, and storytelling. Her dynamic presentations motivate audiences with life-changing profound insights, sparked with her own brand of humor and heartfelt storytelling. “You will never forget you have heard her speak!” stated an enthusiastic fan who credits Stella for giving him the courage to change his life. Creative writing students have described her teaching style as one that encourages freedom in writing, and opens levels of the “writer within,” that surprise and prepare them for creating exciting, new works. (See “Lecture Topics” for list of workshops, classes and presentations.)

Contact Stella for writing events, conferences, workshops, keynotes, book fairs, schools, university and college lectures, cultural and human rights conferences, and a host of community events based on your own individual needs. Your request will receive prompt attention, and personal conference and workshop themes are ALWAYS WELCOME!

*Published Author
*University Professor
*Educational Consultant
*Artist in Residence
*Community Activist
*Motivational Speaker

*B.A. in Education
*MA.Ed Educational Counseling
*School Counselor Certification
*Bilingual Endorsement
*Certified English/Second Language Instructor
*Certified Community College Instructor

Job responsibilities have included the following: Instructing in BLE/ESL classes ranging from elementary to university settings; facilitating and managing district-wide educational programs; coordinating a school-wide counseling program as Chair of Counseling at the high school level; serving as clinician in crisis, individual, family, and grief and loss counseling; teaching as adjunct faculty in education ESL, and masters of counseling classes for Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix; teaching  as adjunct faculty in Creative Writing at ASU and community colleges; conducting local and national workshops and seminars related to creative writing, education, women’s  rights, literacy, culture, Chicano/Chicana history, and storytelling. Serving as an Artist in Residence for elementary and high school students.

My literary career began by way of a dream of my deceased father in 1995. In the dream, my father related to me that I was destined to write. One year after the dream, I signed my first book contract for Fragile Night, a collection of short stories. In 2002, Let Their Spirits Dance, was released for publication by HarperCollins. My father was right…the salmon-colored staircase he led me to in the dream was immense, reaching into the Heavens.  It has become my way into the writing world, and so much more.


All books available through Amazon booksellers, Kindle ebooks, audio, or order from your favorite bookstore.

*Raul H. Yzaguirre: Seated at the Table of Power, 2016, Latino Publisher, Arizona.

*Writing Through Revelations, Visions and Dreams: The Memoir of a Writer’s Soul, 2012. Pope Communications.

*Women Who Live in Coffee Shops and Other Stories, (Paperback) 2010. Arte Publico Press, Houston, Texas.

*If I Die in Juárez, (Paperback) 2008. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona.

*Let Their Spirits Dance, (Hard-bound) 2002. HarperCollins, New York City.

.*Let Their Spirits Dance, (Paperback) 2003. HarperCollins, New York City.

*Que Bailen Sus Espiritus, (Paperback), 2003. Spanish. HarperCollins, New York City.

*Fragile Night, 1997, Bilingual Review Press. (ASU), Tempe, AZ.


*Our Spirit, Our Reality: Celebrating Our Stories. (Sowing the Seeds Women Writers -Tucson), 2012 Anthology E.D. Bjorkquist/R.Andrade. Wheatmark Press. “Alley Turns Into Symbol of Love.”

*Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing, 2010, ed. Rigoberto Gonzalez. Novel excerpt, “If I Die in Juarez,” University of Arizona Press.Tucson, Az.

*BorderSenses, 2008, vol. XIV, “Vicki’s Thirteen,” University of Texas at El Paso.

*Arizona Highways, 2005, December Issue. “The Star That Followed El Niño.”

*BorderSenses, 2004, vol. VIII, “El Callejòn,” University of Texas at El Paso.

*In My Mother’s Closet, 2003. “Rosanna Pope,” Anthology edited by Eugenia Zukerman, Sorin Books, Notre Dame, IN.

*River City, 2001, “Benny.” Judged/selected by, Richard Ford.

*Colorado Review, 2000, “Two Doors Gospel,” Excerpt from Let Their Spirits Dance. Editor, Alberto Rios.

*Stories in the Stepmother Tongue, 2000, (Univ. of Hawaii). “Homage.” Editor, Dr.Robert Shapard.

*Hayden’s Ferry Review, 2000, (ASU) “La Norteña,” Editor, Salima Keegan, (2000).

*Short-listed in 1998-99 Fish Anthology. Editor, Frank McCourt, “Benny’s Pinkie.”

*Vista Magazine of Florida, 1999, “En Busqueda del Espiritu de la Malinche,” (In Search of the Spirit of La Malinche.)

*AZ Author’s Literary Magazine. 1997, “Benny” 1st Place.

*Az Republic Newspaper Articles: “On A Ticket to the World,” (March 25, 2001), “Alley turns into symbol for love in a harsh world,” (April 16, 2004), “Segregation on Cave Man Row,” (June 4, 2004), “Passion vine a metaphor for new openings in life.” (December 17, 2004), “Juárez women deserve justice.” (March 25, 2005.), “Giving thanks for all that is good should be done all year.” (November 18, 2005), “See  Beauty, not shame in use of native tongue,” (January 19, 2008)

See Latino Perspectives, for full list of articles published as Staff Writer.


*2018 PSA Behavioral Health Agency “Freedom & Diversity Community Service Award.”

*2017 International Latino Book Award – “Best Biography for Raul H. Yzaguirre: Seated at the Table of Power.

*2015 Friends of the Phoenix Public Library, Montgomery Award.

*2015 Selected as AZ Humanities Scholar, (See AZ SPEAKS for community presentations.)

*2014 Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature, presented by Dr. Mario Garcia of UC Santa Barbara.

*2013 Tribute to Stella Pope Duarte for Exceptional Literary Endeavora. VI Encuentro de Escritores de Los Estados Unidos. Arizona State University.

*2013 PBS Special: Makers: Women Who Make America. Nominated as one of four Arizona Makers.

*2012 Arizona Centennial Celebration, Arizona Storytellers Theatre at Bestfest, featured as one of Arizona’s leading authors.

*2011 Professor Alberto Rios Outstanding Literary/Arts Award, presented by the Victoria Foundation.

*2011 Community Arts & Literature Award, presented by MUJER INC.

*2011 Women in American History Award, presented by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Grand Canyon Chapter.

*2010 YWCA Tribute to Women Award, “Creative Arts Leader.”

*2009 American Book Award, If I Die in Juárez. Awarded by the “Before Columbus Awards,” Berkeley University.

*2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards, “Gold Medal in Multicultural Fiction,” If I Die in Juárez.

*2009 Foreword Book of the Year Award, “Gold Medal in Multicultural Fiction,” If I Die in Juárez.

*2009 International Latino Book Award, “Best Novel, Adventure or Drama,” – Honorable Mention, If I Die in Juárez.

*2008 Southwest Book of the Year Award, “Top Pick,”  If I Die in Juárez.

*2008 Arizona Book Award, “Best in Popular Fiction,” If I Die in Juàrez.

*2008 34th Annual Chicano/Latino Literary Prize, University of California at Irvine, FIRST PLACE for short story collection: Women Who Live in Coffee Shops.

*2006 Induction into the Phoenix College Hall of Fame.

*2006 Appointment by Governor Janet Napolitano as member of Arizona Commission on the Arts

*2005 American Association of Community Colleges, “Outstanding Alumni Award.”

*2004 “Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Award,” for an excerpt from If I Die in Juarez.

*2003 Valle del Sol Award, “Excellence in Latino Arts and Culture.” Profiles of Success Award.

*2003 AZ Highways Magazine, “Fiction Award for 2003,” Let Their Spirits Dance.

* 2003 Let Their Spirits Dance, nominated by AZ librarians as a ONE BOOKAz selection.

*2002 Let Their Spirits Dance, A Book Sense 76 Selection.

*2002 recipient, “Hispanic Women’s Corporation, Community Award in Literature.”

*2002 recipient, “Phoenix College Alumni Association Citation of Merit for Literature.”

*2001 Second Place in River City Writing Awards. (Univ.
of Memphis) “Benny.” Published in River City.
Judge, Richard Ford.

*2000 Pushcart Prize Nomination for “La Norteña,” creative non-fiction.

*1997 First Place in 17th Annual Az. Authors Literary Contest,
“Benny’s Pinkie.”

*2001 recipient, AZ Arts Commission Creative Writing
Fellowship for, Let Their Spirits Dance.

*1998 recipient, AZ Arts Commission Creative Writing
Fellowship for, Fragile Night.


Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society; ASU Alumni Association; Phoenix College Alumni Association; Chicano/a Faculty & Staff of ASU West; LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens); Somos America; Hispanic Education Forum, Phoenix College Advisory Council.

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