In addition to being a critically acclaimed author of more than 40 novels and short stories, Dr. Eduardo González Viaña has been one of the great professors at Western Oregon University for the past 20 years. A few days ago, Dr. González Viaña was honored at his retirement party at the University House near campus. Later, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview him. This was when I realized why he is so admired and how he will be missed.
Dr. González Viaña was born in a small town in Peru and moved to the United States in 1990 to teach at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1993 he found a permanent home at Western Oregon University. In our interview, he described his love for Oregon as having “two hearts”- one in his home of Peru, and one here in Oregon. Although Dr. González Viaña said he was looking forward to having more time to write after his retirement, he was equally sad to not be teaching in Monmouth anymore.
So what will he be doing after his teaching days at Western? Don’t say he’ll be fishing! Dr. González Viaña joked that a lot of people think retirement means all you do is go fishing. Not him. He has a lot of travel plans- New York in December to receive an award, Peru for two months, then Barcelona to give lectures, and then off to Italy in the Spring to present his books that have been translated to Italian. Of course, he will also continue to write. When I asked him if he was working on anything right now, he said exclaimed “Of course! Always. A novel. It takes place here, at the University.”
Although he has won many awards over the years, including the prestigious Juan Rulfo award in 1999, Dr. González Viaña says “The best award is to have been teaching here at the University.”
You can see the full album from his retirement party on WOU’s Facebook page
Books written by Eduardo González Viaña can be found on Amazon.com
By Tia Jay