A product of a Mexican-American family, I have lived most of my life in deep South Texas, where I teach at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley. Recipient of awards from the American Library Association, Texas Institute of Letters and Texas Associated Press, I have written several books, most significantly the Pura Belpré Honor Book The Smoking Mirror.

Additionally, my work has been published in venues including Rattle, Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, Metamorphoses, Translation Review, Concho River Review, Huizache, Journal of Children’s Literature, Asymptote, Eye to the Telescope and Newfound.

I am represented by Taylor Martindale Kean and Stefanie Von Borstel of Full Circle Literary.

Here I am, looking overly serious.

Here I am, looking overly serious.

Hi, I’m David Bowles. Here’s a little background: I was raised in a family with deep Mexican-American and Southern roots, and the mingling of those cultural traditions definitely shaped me. A few elements of my childhood seem key to my present work: the stories I heard at the knee of my grandmother, Marie Garza; the fact that my mother taught me to read when I was four; and the tutoring in biblical Greek and Hebrew I got in 5th grade.

Both my parents are from McAllen, Texas, but my dad was in the navy, so I spent my childhood in both South Carolina and the Río Grande Valley of south Texas, where I presently live with my wife and children.  It was here that I attended high school while living in Section 8 housing and then went on to get my bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate at the University of Texas Pan American. I’ve dedicated more than twenty years to education, both as a public school teacher, administrator and university professor. But my alter ego, if you will, is as a writer, translator, poet and critic.

My career as an author effectively began in April of 2011, when Absey & Co. published The Seed: Stories from the River’s Edge, a collection of short stories. In 2012, I teamed up with painter Noé Vela to craft Mexican Bestiary, an illustrated bilingual encyclopedia of legendary creatures. In 2013, Lamar University Press published Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry, which went on to win the 2014 Souerette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translation from the Texas Institute of Letters, and AIM Media Texas released an ebook of mine titled Creature Feature: 13 Frightening Folktales of the Río Grande Valley. On June 20, 2014, Ink Brush Press published my first book of original poetry, Shattering and Bricolage. In March of 2015, IFWG Publishing released The Smoking Mirror, the first book in my YA fantasy series Garza Twins, which was selected as a Pura Belpré Honor Book by the American Library Association. In June of 2015, Lamar University Press published Border Lore: Folktales and Legends of South Texas. Garza Twins 2, A Kingdom Beneath the Waves, dropped in April of 2016. September of 2016 saw the release by The History Press of Ghosts of the Río Grande Valley, and in October of 2016, Severed Press published my Mexican kaiju novel Lords of the Earth. 2017 has kicked off with the release of my short story collection Chupacabra Vengeance.

Additionally, I’ve had work published in various periodicals, including Translation Review, Rattle, Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, Metamorphoses, Huizache, Stupefying Stories, Asymptote, Concho River Review, The Thing Itself, Interstice, James Gunn’s Ad Astra, Eye to the Telescope, BorderSenses, Illya’s Honey, SQ Mag, the 2015 Texas Poetry Calendar, the Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas and Red River Review. Among my editing credits are the Along the River anthology series, the re-illustrated Stories That Must Not Die reprint series, Donna Hooks Fletcher: Life and Writings and the magazines Flashquake and La Noria Literary Journal. My book review column Top Shelf appears each Friday in The Monitor, a regional newspaper. The Texas Associated Press recognized the journalistic excellence of that column with an award in March of 2015.

You can contact me at bowlesdo@gmail.com

Creative Commons License
Photo of David Bowles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://davidbowles.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Bowles-6-2-16.jpg.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://davidbowles.us.


  1. David–what a fabulous review! You nailed all the important aspects of the book. Thank you for your deep reading and thoughtful analysis.
    Sarah Cortez
    P.S. If you’ll be at the Texas Book Festival this weekend in Austin, please stop by the panel that features WALKING HOME as one of three books about Latino suenos. Sat. 1:30 p.m. Capital Extension Room E2.026. Book Signing in Book Signing Tent at 2:45 p.m. I’d love to see you again!

    • Sarah, thanks! My only regret was that the word “chapel” was left out after “Houston” (I suppose people will fill that in on their own, heh). I’m glad you liked the review; I certainly loved reading your work!

      I actually won’t be in Austin this year, but I’m sure we’ll see each other soon at some event or another. I will at the very least be up in Houston in April…you guys can recommend another great restaurant to me!

      Un abrazote…

  2. Dr. Bowles: Read the article about your publications, so I contacted Amy at the Monitor to get your e-mail address. I’m currently writing a book on memoirs, and since this is my first writings, I need someone to edit and suggest improvements. Please let me know your fees. I really need someone like yourself. My story begins in 1958 as a five year old migrating with family to the state of Colorado. Please contact me. Thank you.

  3. Emma, why don’t you shoot me an e-mail at bowlesdo@gmail.com ? Thanks!

  4. Thank you for visiting our school! Besteiro Middle School.

  5. You bet, Samuel! It was awesome.

  6. Hello Dr. David Bowles; it’s Zoe from the conference yesterday.

  7. Good evening David. its Zoe again, forgive me for contacting you on such short notice. But i’d was wondering if perhaps you could give me a bit of feedback on my novel. Its going to be my first time publishing, and I would be honored to have someone with years of experience read it. I’m currently in the last stage of editing, and just finishing up the last chapters but i’m still a bit unaware of how i’m going to lay out the actual book in physical pages. Do you think you could give me a few tips and suggestions whilst reading my novel?

  8. Good Morning,

    Harlingen CISD would like to invite you to present/speak to our 9th grade students in Early College High School. Would you be available any Monday in February from 8 AM to 10 AM?

    I’m looking forward to hearing back from you. Thank you, Mireya Galvan, Coordinator of Library Services for Harlingen CISD

  9. Was your grandpa David Bowles from Falfurrias Texas?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *