Texas Writer Takes Home Two Lammys

Benjamin Alire Sáenz back in the spotlight

Sáenz at the 2009 Texas Book Festival
Sáenz at the 2009 Texas Book Festival (Photo by Larry D. Moore / via Wikimedia Commons)

Congratulations to Benjamin Alire Sáenz, who just won the Lambda Literary Award for gay general fiction for his novel Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club (Cinco Puntos).

The prize-winning novel is set in El Paso and Juárez, and follows seven stories through the political and personal histories of that border region.

He also won the LGBT children's/young adult award for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Simon & Schuster) at last night's 25th annual awards show in New York, which honored Augusten Burroughs, John Irving, and Cherrie Moraga.

Sáenz, a faculty member at the University of Texas at El Paso, also won the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Kentucky Club, becoming the first Latino writer to do so.

So this has been quite the banner year for the author, but he's by no means a newcomer; he won an American Book Award in 1992 for Calendar of Dust. And it's about time he got to spend some more time in the spotlight. As PEN/Faulkner judge A.J. Verdelle put it:

"In Everything Begins & Ends at the Kentucky Club, his twentieth published book, Benjamin Alire Sáenz shows how decades working at your craft gives birth to might and mastery. … He presents a rendering of reality that is lush, tender, expansive, inclusive and profound."

And we can't wait to see what's next.

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Benjamin Saenz, award, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, Mexico, El Paso, Juarez, gay, fiction, Lambda Literary Award, PEN/Faulkner Prize

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