Lopez, ​Rudy Castaneda

Lopez, ​Rudy Castaneda


Primary publisher
Escalator Press
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In Brief

Rudy Castañeda López is a celebrated artist and writer that grew up in Whittier, California, USA and moved to New Zealand in 1986. López taught in secondary and tertiary art education in various placements around New Zealand up until 2014. He has two published novels, The Song of Laughing Bird (National Pacific Press, 2005) and Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder (Escalator Press, 2015). López’s short story Life Class earned him the Honour Award in the New Zealand Writing School Short Story Competition in 2013. Since 2014, López has been focussing on writing full-time.


López, Rudy Castañeda (1955 - ) began his studies at the California State University Long Beach, and was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting in 1979. In 1986 he moved to New Zealand and received his Secondary Teachers Credential from the Auckland Teachers College in 1987. Following his graduation, López taught in secondary and tertiary art education around New Zealand until 2014. During this time, he lived in the beautiful Bay of Islands, namely Kawakawa and Opua from 1988 until 1991.

From 1991 to 2007 López resided in Havelock North and has maintained strong ties with the former home since leaving the Hawkes Bay. In 2005 López graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the Whitecliffe College of Art and Design in Auckland. His first book, The Song of Laughing Bird (National Pacific Press) was also published in 2005. Catherine Wolfe, of Hawke’s Bay Today wrote, “I’m impressed. I don’t say that often… The Song of Laughing Bird kept me up late last night reading - I don’t do that often either.”

In 2007, López moved to his current residence in Whitby, Porirua City. López invested time into his academic writing and had his Master of Fine Arts Dissertation, The Intimate Real: Empowering the Quiet Art (2008) published by Verlag Doktor Müller in Germany. He went on to graduate from Whitireia Community Polytechnic with a Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing in 2013, his central project for the Diploma being the first draft for the critically acclaimed Open Your Eyes, Jackson Ryder (Escalator Press, 2015). Described by Scoop as the story of “a fifteen-year-old’s tumultuous journey through adolescence and across the USA” (2015), the story has attracted a multitude of positive reviews. Stephanie Jones from Coast praised Lopez for the way “his writing about art has a captivating immediacy[…] López is a marvellous writer, summoning a world full of danger and promise and proving that the adult domain is no more certain or assured than that of the callow teenager” (2016).

López continues to write full-time, living on the banks of the Pauatahanui Inlet, an arm of the Porirua Harbour with his family.

Updated September 2017.