Asian American writer Tammy Delatorre grew up on the Big Island of Hawai’i and now lives in Los Angeles. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir, and poetry.
She received several fellowships, grants, and residencies, including those from the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Summer Literary Series in Tbilisi, Georgia, and Writing by Writers Mill House Residency.
Author Cheryl Strayed selected her essay, “Out of the Swollen Sea,” as a Payton Prize winner. Delatorre is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and twice recognized for Notable Essays in the Best American Essays. Her essays have appeared in Los Angeles Times, Good Housekeeping, Salon, Vice, The Rumpus, and other venues.
Her short stories have also garnered recognition in literary competitions, including the New Letters Prize for Fiction, Tiferet Writing Contest, and Yamasee’s William Richey Short Fiction Contest.
She obtained her MFA from Antioch University, Los Angeles and is available to teach writing classes on how to write personal and literary essays.
Nice Words about Tammy’s Writing
Sarah Gerard, author of Sunshine State, Binary Star, and True Love, said of a chapter in Tammy Delatorre’s memoir:
“I Am Coming for You” is a bloody, vivid, gut-wrenching account of inherited violence, abandonment, and reckoning. It’s the kind of story that demands to be told in spite of, or maybe because of, the courage it takes to write it. Rage and sadness pulse through it like a heartbeat through an umbilical cord.
Joy Castro, author of Hell or High Water, Nearer Home, and How Winter Began, said of one of Tammy’s essays:
“Stunning in its intensity and concision, Tammy Delatorre’s essay “The Ties that Bind” is an anticolonial love song, a visceral elegy for those upon whose labor and loss the blithe tourism of the well-to-do depends. The essay’s deft, elegant layers unfold swiftly, and Delatorre’s relentless, unflinching curiosity presses on the sutures that stitch together passion and pain, illuminating the tragic free-falls that happen when those threads snap. I love the essay’s risky leaps, its haunting motifs, and its lyrical logic, the way its lines are laced together with alliteration and internal rhyme. Delatorre leads us to the brink and leaves us there, breathless with grief and hope.”
Brendan Kiely, author of The Gospel of Winter and co-author of All American Boys, said of one of Tammy’s essays:
“For this reader, (Tammy’s writing) is the kind of prose that uses narrative drive to guide the reader through the messy, cyclical, and shocking recognition of what it means to be alive. It is a study in craft – well-worked over, carefully edited, sophisticated style – the kind of writing we should all strive for when we ask a reader for her or his time and attention. But more importantly, it strikes deep. It’s ambitious, and it tackles the subject with courage and honesty. From the first moments of the piece, the body feels the world, the body is the keeper of the truth, and the truth is something we all need to know, and do now because of this writer’s fearlessness and skill.
“Much latter, in a moment of revelation, the narrator explains, “The words rose up, as if I had no control.” This is the very heart of the piece, because it so admits to the chaotic, dangerous, and vulnerable experience of living, but it is the clarity and deftness of great writing that moves the emotional truth from the narrator to the reader, or at least, for this reader, giving me what I’m always looking for in a narrative, passing to me, almost magically, the most meaningful and yet weightless gift—understanding.”