About

MARGOT PEPPER’S BIOGRAPHY

Born in Mexico City, Margot Pepper is a bilingual educator, whose fiction, poetry, articles and translations have been published internationally by the Utne Reader, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, ZNet, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Monthly Review, Dollars & Sense, NACLA, Rethinking Schools, City Lights, Hampton Brown, Race, Poverty & the Environment, Prensa Latina, El Tecolote, El Andar, Canada’s The Scoop and elsewhere. She is best known for her memoir about her year working in Cuba, Through the Wall: A Year in Havana (Freedom Voices, 2005,) which was a finalist nomination for the 2006 American Book Award. She has also published a book of poetry, At This Very Moment (Freedom Voices, 1992) and most recently adystopian science fiction thriller, American Day Dream, due out January 15, 2015. Currently she is working on a book of short magic realism, The Acrobat, and Other Stories for Dark Times. Learn more at www.margotpepper.com. Search for Author Margot Pepper on Facebook or margotpepper on Instagram.

EDUCATION

M.F.A., Creative Writing. San Francisco State University.
B.C.L.A.D. Professional Clear Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential with Bilingual Emphasis in Spanish.
B.A. Literature/Writing; minor in Spanish, University of California at San Diego. Honors: Summa cum laude.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Author of three books, journalist and translator.
  • Native Spanish-Speaker.
  • Professional poet with California Poets in the Schools.
  • 20 years teaching experience in both Spanish and English.
  • Students have been widely published and have appeared on television and radio.

PUBLISHING HIGHLIGHTS

Publications: Articles, translations, poems and fiction have appeared in Common Dreams, Rethinking Schools, the Utne Reader, Monthly Review, ZNet, Counterpunch, Dollars & Sense, NACLA, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, City Lights, Hampton Brown, the Berkeley Daily Planet, Poetry Flash, El Andar, Race, Poverty & the Environment, El Tecolote, Left Curve, Cambio, Cipactli, the Venice Beach-Head, France’s Le Courier, Canada’s Scoop and others. Spoken word performances at over 75 venues include the Yerba Buena Gardens, the Oakland Museum of California, the San Francisco Book Festival, Intersection for the Arts, Barnes & Noble and the National Library of Havana. Repeated appearances in Spanish and English on KPFA’s Morning Show, Cover to Cover, Flashpoints, Raza Chronicles, KPFK, and KPOO. Through the Wall: A Year in Havana is carried by nearly 50 libraries including by Harvard, Brown, Rutgers, and Melbourne universities.

Spanish Language Translator and Journalist: Translated, from Spanish to English, 900+ articles and wrote over a dozen articles for Granma International newspaper in Havana, Cuba. Conducted Research for a book during this time. (10/93-11/94)

Foreign Correspondent: Spent fifteen months in Cuba and Mexico working as a freelance correspondent and translator for some of the above-referenced U.S. and foreign publications. (9/92-12/94)

Editor/ Copy Editor: Former founding Editor of Komotion International magazine, previously a newsletter belonging to a renowned San Francisco arts collective and performance venue that received the 1992 Bay Guardian “Local Hero” award. Worked on all facets of magazine including design, lay out, paste-up and staff coordination. (5/88-7/89)

BOOKS

American Day Dream, a dystopian science fiction/magic realism thriller. San Francisco: Freedom Voices, 2015

Through the Wall: A Year in Havana, a historical memoir. San Francisco: Freedom Voices, 2005

At This Very Moment, a collection of poetry and short fiction. San Francisco: Freedom Voices, 1992

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

  • “TV Selfishness and Violence Explode During War on Terror,” Teaching About the Wars, 2014
  • Rethinking Schools; Volume 22., No. 3. Spring 2008
  • Reprinted on website, Center for Screentime Awareness
  • “Redwood Warriors Turn Tables on FBI: A Documentary Drama about a Bay Area Legend,” Monthly Review, Volume 64., No.5., October 2012; Boston, MA, March/April 2009
  • “Tuning In to Violence: Students Use Math to Analyze What TV Is Teaching Them,” Rethinking Popular Culture and Media, 2011
  • Rethinking Early Childhood Education anthology, Ed. Ann Pelo, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Rethinking Schools, Ltd, October 2008
  • The Costs of the Embargo, The 47-year-old blockade now costs the United States far more than it costs Cuba”
    Dollars & Sense, Boston, MA, March/April 2009
    Common Dreams, March 7, 2009
    NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America,) March 10, 2009
    Iran Daily.com, March 9, 2009
    Progreso-Weekely.com
  • Blockade Harms U.S. More than Cuba,” The Berkeley Daily Planet, February 18, 2009
    The Scoop, Ontario, Canada: February, 2009
  • “Blockade on Cuba Costs U.S Economy More,” Paraphrased by Prensa Latina, January 11, 2009
  • Reprinted in U.S.A. Today.com January 14, 2009
  • “Scoop World,” January 13, 2009
  • Council on Hemispheric Affairs, January 12, 2009
  • “Interview with Assata Shakur,” The Venice Beachhead, March 1, 2009
  • “The Ruinous Legacy of Bush’s No Child Left Behind: “U.S. Public Schools Jeopardized by Privatization and Profit-Seeking Corporations,” Street Spirit, January 2009
  • “We Have a Dream; Poem to Prolong these Optimistic Times,” The Scoop, Ontario Canada: December, 2008
  • “TV Selfishness and Violence Explode During War on Terror,” Rethinking Schools; Volume 22., No. 3. Spring, 2008;
  • Reprinted on website, Center for Screentime Awareness,
  • “Open Letter to an Immigration Judge,” Monthly Review’s MR. Zine, July 3, 2007;
  • Berkeley Daily Planet, February 23, 2007;
  • (Spanish translation: “Carta a Un Juez de Inmigración”), El Tecolote, March 8, 2007
  • “Deconstructing ‘Return to Sender,’” Counterpunch; Weekend edition June 2/3 2007;
  • ZNet,; June 6, 2007;
  • The Scoop, Ontario, Canada: July, 2007;
  • Street Spirit, San Francisco: September, 2007
  • “The Drive to Oust the Middle Class from Inner City Public Schools,” Race, Poverty & the Environment: Educating for Equity, Vol. 14 No. 2, Fall 2007
  • “Seven-Year-Olds Lead a Strike,” Race, Poverty & the Environment, Vol. 14 No. 2, Fall 2007
  • “Year Six Of The War On Terror: TV Violence, Selfishness And Insults Have Skyrocketed,” Free Venice Beachhead, #312, October 2007
  • “Six Years into War on Terror: TV Violence Has Skyrocketed,” Berkeley Daily Planet; August 28, 2007
  • “City Considers Proposals to Counter Immigration Raids; Root of Problem: NAFTA, Berkeley Daily Planet; May 18, 2007
  • “Work, Work, Work,” satire, first in Processed World, Oct. 1989 #29, & Utne Reader,; Mar./April, 1990;
  • Race, Poverty & the Environment: Organizing for Economic Justice, Vol. 14 No. 1, Spring 2007
  • Berkeley Daily Planet, December 21, 2007;
  • Poor Magazine, Vol. 3, 1998
  • “No Corporation Left Behind,” Monthly Review, Volume 58., No.6., November 2006;
  • The Scoop, Ontario, Canada: March 2007;
  • Susan O’Hanian’s website
  • “Commentary: Measure A Will Impact Property Values,” Daily Planet, October 10, 2006
  • “Sending in the Troops,” Poem, The Scoop, Ontario Canada: December, 2003
  • “Esperando tu Llegada,” Poem, Corazón del Barrio: 25 Years of Art and Culture in the Mission, Mission Cultural Center, February, 2003
  • “The Smell of Smoke,” September 11 and the U.S. War: Beyond the Curtain of Smoke; Eds. Roger Burbach & Ben Clarke, San Francisco: City Lights & Freedom Voices, February, 2002
  • “I Left My Heart in San Francisco: Eviction Fiction,” Street Spirit, July, 2002,
  • First published in Street Spirit, Volume 6, no 6, June 2000
  • “Delivered Vacant,” Fiction, Cipactli, No. 10, SFSU, Winter, Spring 2001
  • “Their Eyes Can Still See; The Art of Children Reveals the Anguish of the Streets,” Street Spirit, Volume 6, No.6, October, 2000
  • The Boston Poet, July 1997
  • First published in Image and Imagination: Encounters with the Photography of Dorothea Lange, Ed. Ben Clarke, San Francisco: Freedom Voices, 1997
  • “Mumia’s Trial: The Smell of Smoke,” Media Alliance, September, 1999
  • “Blue Waters,” Excerpt from memoir, Through the Wall, Cipactli, No. 9, SFSU, Spring 1999
  • “Who Owes Whom?” Poem, Wilderness of Dreams anthology, Ed. Allan Tinker, California Poets in the Schools San Francisco, 1998;
  • Image and Imagination: Encounters with the Photography of Dorothea Lange, Ed. Ben Clarke, San Francisco: Freedom Voices, 1997;
  • Poetry USA, No. 27, Summer 1996;
  • “Bodega,” and “The Turkeys,” Excerpts from Through the Wall, Cipactli, No. 8, SFSU, Winter, Spring 1998
  • “I am NorthAmerican,” Poem, Image and Imagination: Encounters with the Photography of Dorothea Lange, Ed. Ben Clarke, San Francisco: Freedom Voices, 1997;
  • Breakthrough magazine, Fall 1992;
  • First appeared in Cambio Newspaper, April 15-30, 1992
  • “At This Very Moment,” Poem, Belonging to California anthology, Ed. Molly Fisk, California Poets in the Schools San Francisco, 1997
  • “This Exertion of Free Speech Will Never be Broadcast in the U$A,” Media Alliance Instant Free Speech Zine, November, 1997
  • “Electoral Confusion” Satire, S.F. Examiner, October 16, 1996
  • “Chicano is not an Ethnic Category,” translated to Spanish, English, French and Portuguese for Granma International, October 13, 1993
  • “Les intellectuals américains a la rescousse (U.S. Intellectuals to the Rescue),” Le Courrier, International, No. 132, France, May 13-18, 1993
  • “Cuba’s Revolution in Transportation,” International News, Green Left Weekly, issue #88, February 17, 1993
  • “Transportation Revolution in Cuba,” translated to Spanish, English, French and Portuguese for Granma International, January 10, 1993
  • ”El Año Nuevo/The New Year” poetry by students in A Chorus of Cultures, Eds. Alma Flor Ada, Violet J. Harris, Lee Bennett Hopkins; Carmel, CA: Hampton-Brown Company, 1993
  • “Fighting Words: The SF Art Institute’s ‘Official Language’ Exhibition Talks Back to English-Language Laws,” S.F. Bay Guardian, 1991
  • “Examiner’s ‘Bilingual Bomb’ a Dud” S.F. Bay Guardian, June 29, 1991
  • “Resistance and Affirmation,” S.F. Bay Guardian, June 26, 1991 (Review of SFMOMA Exhibit: Chicano Art, Resistance and Affirmation, 1965-1985)
  • Spanish translation: “Resistencia y Afirmación” in El Andar, August, 1991
  • “Monolingual Double Speak Behind ‘Bilingual Bombshell,’” and Spanish translation in Cambio, July 1991
  • “Resistance and Affirmation,” S.F. Bay Guardian, June 27, 1991,
  • (Review of SFMOMA Exhibit: Chicano Art, Resistance and Affirmation, 1965-1985)
  • “Fronteras / Borders,” Poem, Remembering What Happened anthology, Ed. Daryl Ngee Chinn, California Poets in the Schools San Francisco, 1991
  • “Letter about Cuba,” Left Curve No 15, 1991
  • Interview with Ernesto Cardenal, co-author, Beatriz Johnston Hernández, Cambio, Nov. 19-30, 1990
  • “Sweet Harvest, The Spoken Word Project,” Poetry Flash, August, 1990

TRANSLATIONS

First World, Ha, Ha, Ha! The Zapatista Challenge, Ed. Elaine Katzenberger; S.F.: City Lights Publishers, 1995

Riverbed of Memory, Daisy Zamora, Ed. Barbara Paschke; San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 1992

Love Street, Jorge Argueta, San Francisco: Editores Unidos Salvadoreños; 1991

SELECTED RADIO and TELEVISION APPEARANCES

  • NPR, KRZA: Radio Interview for Katey L. Perdoni, March 20, 2009
  • Univisión Channel 14 evening news: story about students reading poetry against deportation of classmate Gerardo Espinoza, July 12, 2007
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTsRLqjyuuY
  • Cover to Cover, KPFA Radio, Berkeley, California: November 29, 2005
  • The Morning Show, KPFA Radio, Berkeley, California: 7:45 am, June 27, 2005
  • La Raza Chronicles, KPFA Radio, Berkeley, California: May 10, 2005
  • Interviewed by Chelis López, KPFA Radio, Berkeley, California: 7:00 pm, August 4, 2005
  • La Verdad Música with Avotcja, KPOO Radio, San Francisco, California: 2:00. pm, July 13, 2005
  • Flashpoints, KPFA Radio, Berkeley, California: September 15, 1999
  • Wee Poets, KDOL T.V. Student Poetry, Berkeley, CA: 6:30-7:00 pm February 17, 1998
  • La Verdad Música with Avotcja, KPOO Radio, Students reading poetry, S.F., CA: June 3, 1995
  • La Verdad Música with Avotcja, KPOO Radio, San Francisco, CA: April 1, 1995
  • The Morning Show, KPFA Radio, San Francisco, CA: September 6, 1994

SELECTED TALKS, READINGS, PANELS

  • Panel with Saul Landau: “The 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution,” La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley CA, January 4, 2009
  • Urban Habitat, Race, Poverty & the Environment, “Educating for Equity,” Oakland: Oct. 24, 2007
  • Rosa Parks School, Presentation before Superintendent on research report: “Success of BUSD’s Two-Way Immersion Program,” Berkeley, CA, June 4, 2007
  • Benefit Street Spirit newspaper, September 7, 2007
  • Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, August 18, 2007
  • Laborfest Reading for National Writers Union, Bird & Becket Bookstore, S.F., CA July 30, 2007
  • “Know Your Rights to Break the ICE,” Teach-In, Rosa Parks School, Berkeley, CA: April 26, 2007
  • “Building Alliances: Lationos, Immigration & the Environment; Berkeley Celebrates César E. Chávez,” with Mayor of Berkeley, Berkeley City College Auditorium, Berkeley, CA April 11, 2007
  • National Writers Union panel: “From Cuba to Venezuela,” Niebyl-Proctor Library, Oakland, CA, November 3, 2006
  • Flor Y Canto Festival, L’s Caffe, San Francisco, CA, 2006
  • Book Tour for Through the Wall; A Year in Havana:
  • Santa Cruz Live Oak Grange, Santa Cruz, CA August 18, 2005
  • Galería de la Raza, San Francisco, CA, August 11, 2005
  • La Raza Galería Posada, Sacramento, CA July 23, 2005
  • Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA July 26, 2005
  • Barnes & Noble, Jack London Square, Oakland, CA July 21, 2005
  • City Lights Books for LaborFest, San Francisco, CA, July 19, 2005
  • Tía Chucha Café Cultural, Los Angeles, CA, July 14, 2005
  • Black Oak Books, Berkeley, CA, Jul 7, 2005
  • The Calistoga Bookstore, Calistoga, CA, July 3, 2005
  • Borders Books & Music, Palo Alto, CA, June 28, 2005
  • Dutton’s Brentwood Books, Los Angeles, CA, June 13, 2005
  • MACLA Theater, San José, CA, June 5, 2005
  • Modern Times Books, San Francisco, CA, May 13, 2005
  • Niebyl-Proctor Library, Berkeley, May 1, 2005
  • Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA, February 16 2005
  • Havana Book Festival, National Library of Havana, Havana, Cuba, February 2003
  • 46th Annual North Beach Festival, San Francisco, CA, June 10, 2000
  • San Francisco Book Festival for LaborFest with CPITS, San Francisco, CA, November, 1998, 1997
  • Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA March 31, 1998
  • M.C. and Poet, “I Too Am America,”—Langston Hughes for National Writers Union, New College, San Francisco, CA, October 12, 1997
  • Vesuvio’s North Beach, San Francisco, CA, October 6, 1997
  • “Image and Imagination: Encounters with the Photography of Dorothea Lange,” James Moore Auditorium, Oakland, CA, June 7, 1997
  • Live Oak Gallery: Exhibit: “Their Eyes Can Still See,” student poetry and art; reading: April 27, 1997
  • Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, California Poets in the Schools Reading, San Francisco, CA, August 8, 1995
  • Intersection for the Arts, California Poets in the Schools Reading with Piri Thomas, San Francisco, CA, April 25, 1995
  • City Lights Books, “First World, Ha Ha Ha! The Zapatista Challenge,” San Francisco, CA, March 15,1995
  • “Special Period: From Havana to the Tenderloin,” Modern Times Books, San Francisco, CA, February 16, 1995
  • “Día de los Muertos” Exhibit, Poem “Sending In the Troops” incorporated into poster by artist Josefina Bates, SOMARTS, San Francisco, November 1, 2003
  • “Poets Up Front,” with Luis J. Rodriguez, Jack Hirschman, Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA, October 11, 1992
  • “Spoken Word Savages” The Marsh, San Francisco, CA, August 23, 1992
  • SF Weekly’s “Wordland,” Women’s Building, San Francisco, CA, April 24, 1992
  • “S.F. Poets Against the War,” New College, San Francisco, CA, January 25, 1991

CITATIONS

Che’s Chevrolet, Fidel’s Oldsmobile; On the Road in Cuba, Richard Schweid,North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2004, Page 214.

After Shock, September 11, 2001: Global Feminist Perspectives, Susan Hawthorne and Bronwyn Winter, Berkeley: Publishers Group West, 2003, Page 14.

The Invention of Race, Black Culture and the Politics of Representation, Tommy L. Lott,Boston: Blackwell Publishers, 1999, P. 182.

African Philosophy: An Anthology, Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1998; p 302

African-American Perspectives and Philosophical Traditions, John Pittman, New York: Routledge, 1997

The Philosophical Forum, Boston University Dept. of Philosophy, Boston University Philosophical Club, Boston: Blackwell Publishers, Boston University, 1991, p. 185

RESEARCH

“Action Research Report: Success of BUSD’s Two-Way Immersion Program,” Berkeley Unified School District, October, 2007 through June, 2008.

“Through the Wall: A Year in Havana” MFA thesis and book; Havana Cuba, October 1992 through November, 1993. Additional month in Mexico, December, 2003.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT & MEMBERSHIPS

Community-based education events. Students have appeared on Univisión channel 14; at the Oakland Museum, the T.V. show Wee Poets; KPOO radio; in a petition submitted to congress against NCLB; on Susan Ohanian’s website and at speaking engagements as far away as Japan. Students have published work in the popular literature series, Hampton-Brown’s A Chorus of Cultures; in Rethinking Schools; California Poets in the Schools anthologies; the Monthly Review; Race, Poverty & the Environment; the Berkeley Daily Planet; Street Spirit newspaper; El Tecolote; the Daily Californian; the Venice Beach-Head and Canada’s The Scoop.

Organized Teach-In at Rosa Parks School in Berkeley, CA. to inform immigrant community of their rights in the face of ICE raids, April 26, 2007.

Delegate to National Writer Union, member since 1992. Orrganized readings which succeeded in expanding membership to include a more diverse population.

Member: California Poets in the Schools since 1991 and Media Alliance.