Benjamin Alire Saenz on Nantucket

A presentation by The Nantucket Book Foundation, The Dreamland, and PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools program on Tuesday April 11th in the Main Theater of the Nantucket Dreamland, Benjamin Alire Saenz is one of the United States most celebrated contemporary authors and winner of many literary awards. This is a FREE author talk and reading for the Nantucket community. Book Signing to follow by your Nantucket Book Partners offering 20% off his newest novel – The Inexplicable Logic of My Life.

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Benjamin Alire Saenz

Novelist, poet, and writer of children’s books, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, was named one of the “Fifty Most Inspiring Authors in the World” by Poets & Writers magazine. His collection of short stories Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club is the winner of the prestigious 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, as well as a Lambda Literary Finalist for Gay Fiction.

Sáenz was born in 1954 in Old Picacho, a small farming village outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico, forty-two miles north of the U.S. / Mexico border. He was the fourth of seven children and was brought up in a traditional Mexican-American Catholic family. He entered the seminary in 1972, a decision that was as much political as it was religious. After concluding his theological studies at the University of Louvain, he was ordained a Catholic priest. Three and a half years later, he left the priesthood.

At the age of 30, he entered the University of Texas at El Paso. He later received a fellowship at the University of Iowa. In 1988, he received a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship in poetry from Stanford University. In 1993, he returned to the border to teach in the bilingual MFA program at UTEP.  His 2012 novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Simon and Schuster) is an Honor Book for the Printz Award, and the winner of the Pura Belpré and the Stonewall Awards.  He is the author of numerous novels, books for children and young adults. His beloved young adult novel Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood, a staple in many high school curricula, was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize, a Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults, and winner of the Américas Award.

Ben is coming to Nantucket as part of the Nantucket Book Foundation & PEN/Faulkner Writers in Schools program. (The Nantucket Book Festival now falls under the Nantucket Book Foundation). This program gave a copy of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe to every student in the Nantucket AP English classes that will be teaching this book. On Wednesday, April 12th, Benjamin will visit these classrooms to discuss the multiple award-winning novel. This visit was made possible in part by a generous grant from The Community Foundation for Nantucket’s Nantucket Fund™. (Special thanks to Mary Haft for all her work and dedication to these programs.)

The evening event at the Dreamland on April 11th is a new partnership with the Nantucket Book Foundation & The Dreamland to further their Page to Stage series.

Read books by Benjamin Alire Saenz in anticipation of his visit, here.


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