Memorial Planned for Famed Border Writer

Family and friends of Charles Bowden plan a memorial to celebrate the life and words of a noted writer this coming weekend near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The 69-year-old journalist and author died at his Las Cruces late last month after suffering an illness.

A widely published chronicler of Mexico and the borderlands, Bowden’s works generated ample polemics and drew attention internationally to the drug-fueled violence that unhinged the Mexico-U.S. border region in recent years. Bowden’s classic 1998 book, “Juarez: The Laboratory of our Future,” was an early critique of the emerging free trade regime and its social consequences on not only a Mexican border city but the entire world.

Among others, Bowden titles included “Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder and Family,”  an exploration of the El Paso murder of a brother of former DEA official Phil Jordan, and “El Sicario:  The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin.” Reportedly, Bowden was working on a book about high-level corruption and the drug trade at the time of his death.

A winner of a Lannan Foundation literary award and Pulitzer nominee, Bowden was also recognized for his writings on the natural wonders of the U.S.-Mexico border region. In addition to his numerous books, Bowden’s portfolio included articles for Harper’s, Mother Jones, Esquire and other magazines.

The memorial for Bowden, named Down by the River…Rhapsody for Charles Bowden, will be held Sunday, September 28, from noon to five p.m., at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park in Mesilla, New Mexico.

Bowden’s partner and co-editor Molly Molloy, invited interested attendees to wear casual clothes, bring a binocular for birdwatching (one of Bowden’s favorite pastimes) and contribute a photo or memento for an altar if desired.

The memorial will also include words, music, light refreshments and a 2 p.m. service. For more information, please contact Molly Molloy at 575-680-6463 or

Directions to the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park can be viewed at:

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