March 19, 2013 / 8:28 PM / 5 years ago

Benjamin Alire Sáenz wins 2013 Faulkner Award for fiction

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Author Benjamin Alire Sáenz won the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction for his collection of stories, “Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club,” the PEN/Faulkner Foundation said on Tuesday.

Sáenz, a poet, essayist and American Book Award winner, was cited for his collection of seven short works set on the south Texas border. The stories examine the effects of geography, politics, violence and personal history on the characters’ lives.

“Sáenz devotes impressive attention to rendering communities on the borders of the United States and Mexico, on the boundaries of sensual and sexual expression, on the edge of despair, and on the cusp of redemption,” judge A.J. Verdelle said in a statement.

Sáenz will receive a $15,000 prize. Four other finalists, Amelia Gray for “Threats,” Laird Hunt for “Kind One,” T. Geronimo Johnson for “Hold It ‘Til It Hurts” and Thomas Mallon for “Watergate,” will each receive $5,000.

The judges considered more than 350 novels and short story collections by American authors published in the United States during 2012.

The finalists will read selections from their books at a ceremony on May 4 in Washington, D.C.

Sáenz is the chairman of the creative writing department at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Past winners of the PEN/Faulkner fiction award have included E.L. Doctorow, Ann Patchett, Philip Roth, John Updike and Annie Proulx.

Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Stacey Joyce

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