Harman Writer-In-Residence, Fall 2012
photo by Lance Evans
Katherine Vaz, a former Briggs-Copeland Fellow in Fiction at Harvard University and a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, is the Fall, 2012 Harman Fellow at Baruch. She is the author of Saudade (St. Martin’s Press), the first contemporary novel about Portuguese-Americans from a major publisher. It was selected in the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers series. Her second novel, Mariana, in seven editions and six languages, was selected by the Library of Congress as one of the Top 30 International Books of 1998. Both novels received movie options.
Her collection Fado & Other Stories won the 1997 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and her second collection, Our Lady of the Artichokes and Other Portuguese-American Stories, received the 2007 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. Her short fiction has appeared in dozens of magazines, and her children’s stories have been included in anthologies from Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Viking. She’s done book reviews for The Boston Globe.
Vaz is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and is the first Portuguese-American to have her work recorded for the Library of Congress, housed in the Hispanic Division. The Portuguese-American Women’s Association named her 2002 Woman of the Year. She was appointed to the six-person U.S. Presidential Delegation to open the American Pavilion at the World’s Fair/Expo 98 in Lisbon.
I found my dying father a set of hospital pajamas covered with whales and dolphins. I stood framed in the doorway to give him a last picture of myself. It is never too late to save someone, to grant him peace. It is never too late to save yourself by saving someone. I smiled and so did he, and then all that was left for me was to imagine his journey; it was beginning. The marine animals around his remains would coast him that night across the sea, back to his native Lisbon, to wash onto the shore of his long-lost earthly home, and from there to lift as fallen rain does in an exaltation of quiet back to the wide blue sky.
— From Our Lady of the Artichokes and Other Portuguese-American Stories