Trinity University Press author Natasha Sajé’s book Terroir: Love, Out of Place is a finalist for the 2021 PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAY, awarded to a seasoned writer whose collection of essays is an expansion on their corpus of work and preserves the distinguished art form of the essay. “These books reveal to us the world. Read them. Read their stories,” says Jane Marchant, director of the PEN America Awards. The winner will receive a $15,000 cash prize.
The essays in Terroir combine poetic lyricism with commentary on nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and class. Sajé explores in particular how the immigrant experience has shaped her identity. Sajé’s revisitation of people and literature across her life interrogates barriers while showing us our connected humanity. “As a nonprofit cultural publisher, Trinity University Press is committed to an evolving agenda of work that engages, questions, and brings us together as a community in increasingly productive ways,” says Press Director Tom Payton. “From issues surrounding immigration, sexual identity, and gender inequality, we are very proud of Natasha’s voice in that it speaks directly to so many of the cultural divides our country is currently dealing with.”
Natasha Sajé was born stateless in Germany and immigrated to the United States with her European parents. A professor of English at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing MFA, she is the author of three award-winning poetry collections, most recently Vivarium; a postmodern poetry handbook, Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory; and numerous other essays, poems, and works of literary criticism.
Eleven categories are chosen by a cohort of judges representing a wide range of disciplines, identities, and aesthetic lineages. The fifty-five Pen American Award Finalists represent a selection of the year’s finest examples of literary excellence. Winners will be announced at the virtual Pen America Literary Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 8, 2021. More information at pen.org.