An El Paso, Texas native, raised
in Northern California, educated at the University of Chicago,
is an award-winning literary journalist, novelist, poet, and
translator, who has been living in and writing about Mexico for
over 25 years. She is also host of the long-standing lit-blog,
and the Marfa
Mondays Podcasting Project.
Her most recent
book, a paradigm-exploding and profoundly researched examination
of the esoteric philosophy of the leader of Mexico's 1910 Revolution,
Odyssey Into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and
his Secret Book, Spiritist Manual. In 2015 it won the National
Indie Excellence Award for History.
the book's webpage
METAPHYSICAL ODYSSEY INTO THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION
"In my fifteen years of researching the life of President
Francisco I. Madero, I have never read a more complete book as
the one just written by C.M. Mayo. It will simply surprise any
reader. The research is impeccable and the narrative well-rounded."
Manuel Guerra de
Luna, author of Los Madero: La Saga Liberal
"Mayo does a brilliant job combining the known facts of
the Mexican Revolution and Madero's role within it, and creates
an intellectual bridge to the president's spiritist belief structure...With
her translation of the Spiritist Manual, C.M. Mayo opened
this incredible window into the metaphysical side of the Mexican
Heribert von Feilitzsch, author of In Plain
Sight: Felix Sommerfeld, Spymaster in Mexico
"Ever astonishing are the greats whose inner tracks
wholly diverge from their renown. Such a case is Francisco I.
Madero, first president of Mexico after the 1910 revolution,
whose political genius was immersed in mysticism, and equally
extraordinary is C. M. Mayo's account of this paradox in Metaphysical
Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution. Threading the tortuous
path of Madero from birth to assassination, and culminating in
the first translation into English of the little-known Spiritist
Manual of this master of statecraft, Mayo's account brings
to life the duality of the singular founder of Mexican democracy."
Bruce Berger, author of The Telling Distance:
Conversations with the American Desert
OVER EL NIDO
remarkable literary debut... tautly fashioned prose, alive with
myriad turns of phrase as on-target as they are idiosyncratic."
Weekly (starred review)
writes some of the most exquisitely fashioned, perfectly measured
prose alive in the world today. Her stories glitter with delicious
odd details. They feel electrically charged, richly mysterious,
and rhythmic. I love her layering of cultures, her offbeat humor,
her potent instinct for voices. Bravo! Captivating! Yes, yes,
yes!" Naomi Shihab Nye
editor of Tameme, the bilingual Spanish/English)
chapbook press, Mayo is also a translator of contemporary Mexican poetry and fiction.
Her anthology of Mexican fiction in translation, Mexico: A Traveler's
was published by Whereabouts Press in March 2006. Her most
include short works by stories by Agustín Cadena, Alvaro
Enrigue, and Mónica Lavín.
Mayo's stories, essays and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies
and literary magazines, including Chelsea, Cenizo Journal,
Creative Nonfiction, Kenyon Review, Literal, North American
Review, Massachusetts Review, Paris Review, Southwest
Review, Tin House and Witness, as well as the Los
Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.
to the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, C.M. Mayo's
recognitions include include three Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism
Awards and three Washington Independent Writers Awards, most
recently for her essay, "From Mexico to Miramar
or, Across the Lake of Oblivion." She has also been awarded residencies
at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia
Center for the Creative Arts, and (for Sky Over El Nido)
fellowships from the writers conferences at Wesleyan, Sewanee,
and Bread Loaf.
Mayo's work has been reviewed in publications as diverse as the
Los Angeles Times, Publisher's Weekly, and Letras
Libres (Mexico's leading cultural magazine), and she has
been interviewed on National Public Radio, The Book Show on WETA,
for Inside Mexico, and elsewhere.
She has given uncounted talks over the course of five book tours,
she has given uncounted talks at venues including the Library
Angela Peralta Theater for PEN San Miguel, the US-Mexico Center at UCSD, noted
independent bookstores such as Austin's Book People, Silicon
Valley's Kepler's, and Pasadena's Vroman's, and book festivals
(the Texas Book Festival, Fall for the Book, and Mexico's Feria
Internacional de Libros, among many others).
View her events schedule, upcoming and
One of the pioneers of
literary blogging, Mayo launched began Madam Mayo in 2006, and she continues
to post on Mondays and oftentimes more often. In 2014 she gave
a talk for the Associated Writing Programs Conference in Seattle
"Writers' Blogs: Eight Conclusions After Eight Years of
maintains a research blog on Mexico's Second
Empire / French Intervention, and has two archived blogs, Giant
Golden Buddha & 364 More Free 5 Minute Writing Exercises and Reading Tolstoy's
War & Peace.
guest-blogs have appeared in Large-hearted
began podcasting in
with her lecture at the Library of Congress on the archival research
behind her novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. Mayo
has since posted some 40 podcasts. In addition to those about
her books and for her writing workshop students, Mayo now hosts
an occasional series, Conversations with Other Writers, and the Marfa Mondays
which is apropos of a book-in-progress about Far West Texas.
Her ebook, based on her one day workshop at the Writer's Center
Podcasting for Writers & Other Creative Entrepreneurs, available in Kindle
and iBook editions.
Listen to C.M. Mayo introduce
her book, Podcasting for Writers, with a podcast.
Mayo has been a member of the faculty of the Bethesda, MD Writer's
since 1999; now mainly in Mexico City, she continues to teach
occasional one day workshops at the Writer's Center on fiction
and literary travel writing, and to serve on the Writer's Center's
Over the years she has also given workshops for the Johns Hopkins
Part-Time Program in Writing; the Bread Loaf Writers Conference
(as a fellow); the Writer's Center's "Publish Now!"
seminar; the Maryland Writers Association Conference; and the
San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference in Mexico, among others.
Mayo's workshop page,
with the schedule of upcoming workshops, and a rich array of
resources for writers.
is founding editor of Dancing Chiva, a publisher specializing
in Bajacaliforniana; esoterica; Maximiliana; works for writers;
and selected works of her own.
Dancing Chiva's catalog
an interview with C.M. Mayo about Dancing Chiva by Jada Bradley for
Waiting for a Dream: A Turn in Far West Texas, apropos of which she
is hosting the Marfa
Mondays Podcasting Project, and a novel.
Listen to Marfa Mondays
#10 "A Visit to Swan House"
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS INCLUDE