Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Benjamin Alire Sáenz (born August 16, 1954) is an American poet, novelist, and writer of children's books.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Sáenz at the 2016 Texas Book Festival
Sáenz at the 2016 Texas Book Festival
Born (1954-08-16) August 16, 1954 (age 69)
Doña Ana County, New Mexico, U.S.
EducationSt. Thomas Seminary (BA)
University of Texas at El Paso (MA)
GenreNovels, short stories, poetry, young adult literature
SubjectHispanic and Latino American culture, LGBT
Notable worksCarry Me Like Water, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club
Notable awardsAmerican Book Award (1992)
PEN/Faulkner Award (2013)

Early life and education edit

Sáenz was raised near Las Cruces, New Mexico.[1] He earned a BA in Humanities and Philosophy from St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado and a MA in creative writing from the University of Texas at El Paso. He continues to live and work in El Paso, Texas.[2] After 15 years of marriage to his wife, an El Paso family court judge, he came out as gay, and they filed for divorce in 2009.[1]

Sáenz was 54 when he came out. In an interview, he confirmed that he had struggled with this topic for a long time and that he saw writing as a way to overcome it.[3]

In 2013, Benjamin Alire Sáenz became the first Latino to win the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Book Award for Fiction with Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club.[4]

On October 29, 2022, Sáenz received the Inaugural Hummingbird Award in Literary Arts from the Tulsa City-County Library. The event was hosted by the Tulsa City-County Library and the Hispanic Resource Center.

Awards edit

  • Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship, poetry
  • 1992 American Book Award, for Calendar of Dust
  • Lannan Poetry Fellowship 1993
  • Carry Me Like Water, Southwest Book Award 1996 (Border Regional Library Association)
  • Dark and Perfect Angels, Southwest Book Award 1996 (Border Regional Library Association)
  • Grandma Fina and Her Wonderful Umbrellas, Best Children's Book 2000, Texas Institute of Letters
  • Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, Americas Book Award, the Paterson Book Prize, the J Hunt Award, Finalist Los Angeles Book Prize, BBYA Top Ten Books for Young Adults
  • He Forgot to Say Goodbye. Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award, Southwest Book Award (Border Regional Library Association), Chicago Public Library, Best of the Best Books for Teens, New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen 2009, Commended Title, Americas Book Award 2009
  • A Perfect Season for Dreaming, Best Children's Book, Friends of the Austin Public Library 2008 (Texas Institute of Letters), Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year 2008, Kirkus Review 2008 Notable Books for Children, Paterson Book Prize
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Stonewall Book Award; Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children's and Young Adult Literature Award, 2013; Honor Book, Michael L. Printz Award, 2013; Pura Belpré Award, 2013.

Works edit

Poetry edit

  • Calendar of Dust. Broken Moon Press. 1991. ISBN 978-0-913089-16-3.
  • Dark and Perfect Angels. Cinco Puntos Press. 1995. ISBN 978-0-938317-23-4.
  • Elegies in Blue. Cinco Puntos Press. 2002. ISBN 978-0-938317-64-7.
  • Dreaming the End of War. Copper Canyon Press. 2006. ISBN 978-1-55659-239-3.
  • The Book of What Remains. Copper Canyon Press. 2010. ISBN 978-1-55659-297-3.

Short stories edit

Novels edit

Young-adult novels edit

Children's books edit

  • A Gift from Papa Diego. Bt Bound. 1999. ISBN 978-0-613-06587-0.
  • Grandma Fina and Her Wonderful Umbrellas. Illustrator Geronimo Garcia. Cinco Puntos Press. 2001. ISBN 978-0-938317-61-6.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • A Perfect Season for Dreaming, Cinco Puntos Press 2008.
  • The Dog Who Loved Tortillas, Cinco Puntos Press 2009

Anthologies edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Ballí, Cecilia (August 2013). "The Passion of Benjamin Sáenz". Texas Monthly. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  2. ^ "Benjamin Alire Sáenz". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  3. ^ "Discovering Sexuality Through Teen Lit". Retrieved 2022-05-21.
  4. ^ "Winner & Finalists for 2013 Award for Fiction | The PEN/Faulkner Foundation". Retrieved 2022-05-21.

External links edit