Jimmy Santiago Baca was born in New Mexico in 1952. He was raised by his grandparents but later lived in an orphanage until running away at eleven years old. Then, after living on the streets for nine years, he was convicted of drug possession with intent to sell. It was while in jail that he taught himself to read and write. Once released from jail, Baca went on to write poetry, stories, screen plays, and to lecture around the country. He has a PhD in Literature from the University of New Mexico and is the recipient many awards, including a 1986 NEA Literary Fellowship, the 1987 Vogelstein Foundation Award, and the 1988 Pushcart Prize. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.