"In less than 3 months we’ve lost two of our Portuguese-American luminary writers–first, Charles Reis Felix (April 29, 1923- January 25, 2017) and, now, Julian Silva (June 1, 1927 – Mar 8, 2017). They are an essential part of our transplanted patrimony. For those who don’t know their work, I take the liberty to say that their books are available from the Center for Portuguese Studies, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, No. Dartmouth, MA."
Distant Music: Two Novels (The Gunnysack Castle and The Death of Mae Ramos) "Two discretely shaped yet interdependent narratives creating a family saga from the viewpoints of both maternal and paternal lines (a difficult and rarely successful strategy for fiction) comprise this large and capacious novel. Distant Music begins in the nineteenth-century and extends well into the twentieth, a diptych retelling the story of the Woods and Ramos families and their descents in rough-and-tumble California. In crisp, succinct, and often elegant prose, rich in deftly selected detail, Julian Silva celebrates not only the resilience of men and women confronted with failure but–even more important–he adumbrates the compromised morality of their achievement" (Portuguese American Series: Umass Dartmouth).
Julian’s first publication was a short story in Cosmopolitan Magazine, 1964, a study for one of the main characters in The Gunnysack Castle. The University of Colorado’s Writers Forum has published seven of his stories over the years, one of which, “The Minimalist” has been anthologized in Higher Elevations: Stories from the West, by Swallow Press, 1993. Stories have also been published in Kansas Quarterly and the San Francisco Chronicle (March 3, 1985).
The Gunnysack Castle was published by Ohio University Press in 1983 (after the original publisher in Colorado went bankrupt). Distant Music: Two Novels (The Gunnysack Castle and The Death of Mae Ramos) was published by the Tagus Press at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, (2007) and Move Over, Scopes and Other Writings, was also published by Tagus Press, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (2011). Other monographs include: A Legendary Blanche (2012); Cold and Comfort in a Warm Climate (2011); Disconnected in Texas (2011); Pierluigi (2011). His most recent short story "The Dryer" was published in InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies, Vol. 1(2012): 175-183. Some of his writings are still unpublished.
Julian Silva is a fourth-generation Portuguese-American whose Azorean ancestors first settled in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1870s. He was born in 1927 in san Lorenzo. His grandparents and one great-grandmother were born in the Bay Area, and their ancestors in the Azores. His father taught history at St. Mary’s College for twelve years, then moved for the remainder of his professional life, to San Francisco City College. Julian attended San Lorenzo Grammar School, St. Joseph’s in Alameda, and St. Mary’s College on a scholarship. In May of 1945, he enlisted in the medical corps of the U.S. Naval Reserve. In January of 1947 he finished his lower division work in one semester at SFCC, and moved on to the University of San Francisco. After graduation in 1949, Julian spent six months traveling in Europe and upon returning he did graduate work at the University of California Berkeley. Julian was an English teacher.