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For award-winning writer and former agent for the United States Border Patrol Francisco Cantú, the border is in his blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. His new book, The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border, is haunted by the stories he experienced both while working for the Border Patrol—where he hauled in the dead and delivered to detention those he found alive—and also as a civilian after he abandoned the Patrol and helped an immigrant friend return to Mexico to visit his dying mother. Join us for an eye-opening look at the devastation the border wreaks on both sides as Cantú shares this deeply personal work with journalist Ruxandra Guidi, who frequently reports on immigration from the U.S.-Mexico border region.

Francisco Cantú

Francisco Cantú served as an agent for the United States Border Patrol in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas from 2008 to 2012. A former Fulbright fellow, he is the recipient of a 2017 Whiting Award. His essays and translations have been featured on This American Life and in Best American EssaysHarper’s, GuernicaOrionn+1 and Ploughshares. The Line Becomes a River is his first book. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.


Ruxandra Guidi

Ruxandra Guidi, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, is an independent journalist with more than fifteen years of experience working in public radio, magazines, and multimedia. She has reported throughout the United States, the Caribbean, South and Central America, as well as Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border region. She’s also worked as a reporter, editor, and producer for NPR’s Latino USA, the BBC daily news program, The World, the CPB-funded Fronteras Desk in San Diego-Tijuana, and KPCC Public Radio’s Immigration and Emerging Communities beat in Los Angeles. She collaborates regularly with her husband, photographer Bear Guerra, under the name Fonografia Collective.


Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7 PM.

Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.

Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.

Main Image: Of Fence by Marcos Ramirez ‘ERRE’ at Oceanside Museum of Art


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.


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