Patricia Engel’s Infinite Country wins the New American Voices Award
Patricia Engel’s novel Infinite Country is the winner of the 2021 Institute for Immigration Research New American Voices Award, judged by Irina Reyn, Justin Torres, and Melissa Rivero. Engel will receive $5,000 for the top prize and will accept the award at a virtual ceremony hosted by Fall for the Book on Friday, October 15th at 7 p.m. Engel, born to Colombian parents, and herself a dual citizen, is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Miami.
“As the daughter of immigrants, my writing is an offering to the community of millions around the world who make our home in diaspora, and who have our citizenry challenged at every turn. To have my work recognized by the Institute for Immigration Research, which prioritizes the complexity of migration, and among such extraordinary finalists, moves me deeply. I’m extremely grateful and honored to receive the New American Voices Award for Infinite Country.” – Patricia Engel
Engel’s novel explores an immigrant family’s struggle of undocumented status and their divided existence between Bogotá and the US. With the ever menacing threat of being deported, a split family must weigh their allegiance to the past and to each other. The judges described Infinite Country as “engrossing and daring from the very first sentence. Engel tells the story . . . masterfully over the course of two decades, shifting perspectives, and employing Andean myths to give us insight into her characters. In the process, she demonstrates how neither time nor borders can contain this family’s connection or their love.”
Meet the Winner
Patricia Engel is the author of The Veins of the Ocean, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, winner of the International Latino Book Award; and Vida, a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway and Young Lions Fiction Awards, New York Times Notable Book, and winner of Colombia’s national book award, the Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Meet the Finalists
Finalists Daisy Hernández and Anthony Veasna So’s estate each will receive $1,000. Daisy Hernández’s The Kissing Bug was described by the judges as “deeply personal and moving, while Anthony Veasna So’s Afterparties was described as“bold and vibrant.”