( 1936- )
Estela Portillo, who was born in El Paso, Texas, has spent most of her life working in that Texas city. She received a BA and an MA in English from the University of Texas-El Paso. From 1957 to 1964, Portillo-Trambley taught high school English in El Paso and was chair of the English Department at El Paso Technical Institute. Since 1979 she has been affiliated with the Department of Special Services in the El Paso public schools.
In addition to her career in education, Portillo-Trambley has actively promoted Chicano culture in El Paso. She hosted a radio talk show, "Estela Sez" ( 1969- 1970), and wrote as well as hosted the cultural program "Cumbres" for an El Paso television station from 1971 to 1972. Her television experience led her toward a full-time writing career, including the position of resident dramatist at the El Paso Community College from 1970 to 1975, where she also produced and directed the college productions and taught classes. Portillo-Trambley holds the distinction of being the first Chicana to write a musical comedy.
Portillo-Trambley Rain of Scorpions and Other Writings ( 1975) is the first collection of short stories published by a Chicana writer. Impressions ( 1971) is a collection of her haiku poetry, and Trini ( 1986) is a novel. She edited Chicanas en literatura y arte for Il Grito in 1973, the first all-women's issue of a major Chicano journal.
Portillo-Trambley married Robert Trambley in 1953 and has five children. She continues to make her home in El Paso, Texas.
While Portillo-Trambley's work is firmly rooted in realistic situations and believable characters, a mystical quality, often originating in Chicano traditions,