Frank Kensaku Saragosa felt a bit uneasy as he walked past the tents that lined the sidewalk along downtown San Diego's East Village. “I used to stay over there,” he said, pointing to an embankment off Commercial Street near Interstate 5. Saragosa, 56, was anxious that some of the homeless people in the sidewalk encampments might recognize him from the four years he spent on the street. But Saragosa is being recognized for something else today. Early in September, he was named the first-place winner in two categories of the prestigious PEN America literary awards in the prison-writing category. “Life. In Pieces” earned him first place in the fiction category and “Caught Crossing, Caught Between — A Tale of Two Cities” earned first place in the essay category. Both are true stories, but Saragosa said he did not trust his fuzzy memory of the time he lived as an addict on the streets of San Diego, so he entered “Life. In Pieces” as fiction. His work stood out among about 800 entries from 300 writers who wrote and submitted pieces while incarcerated. Saragosa had a bit of an advantage in the field, having taught American literature as a college professor before his life fell apart. While labeled fiction, “Life. In Pieces” reads like truth, with imagery out of a Tom Waits song and stream-of-consciousness prose reminiscent of William Burroughs. Its opening describes what he calls San Diego's skid row, the heart of darkness, known by its inhabitants as The […]
Click here to view original web page at rank Kensaku Saragosa felt a bit uneasy as he walked past the tents that lined the sidewalk along downtown San Diego's East Village.
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