National Book Critics Circle’s Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement
The Texas Book Festival is thrilled to congratulate Rolando Hinojosa-Smith on winning the National Book Critics Circle’s Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement, which recognizes his significant contributions to book culture. Hinojosa-Smith chronicles the struggles, joys, and strangeness of life in the Rio Grande Valley through short stories, novels, poetry and essays. His best-known work, the Klail City Death Trip series, spans 15 books written over the past
four decades. Set in fictional Belken County on the Texas-Mexico border, the series follows the stories of generations of borderland residents of Mexican and Anglo heritage, and functions as an ongoing conversation about the constancy of change and the tenuous nature of truth in the region.
Hinojosa-Smith draws material for his stories from his own experience as a native of the Rio Grande Valley. Born in Mercedes, Texas in 1929, just a few miles from the Mexican border, he grew up in a family rooted in both Mexico and Texas — his father fought in the Mexican Revolution and his mother raised the family in Texas. He was raised speaking Spanish and English, and writes in both languages, often writing a book in one language and then writing a different “rendition” of the work in the other. His commitment to the Texan literary community goes far beyond his own work as well. He’s been recognized as a pioneer of Chicano literature, is a professor of English at UT Austin, and is an academic authority on Chicano and Southwestern literary culture, working recently as an editor of the Norton Anthology of Latino Literature.
The Texas Book Festival has been honored to host Hinojosa-Smith as a Festival Author and to award him with the 2007 Texas Writer Award (then known as the Bookend Award) for his outstanding contributions to Texas literature. We’re excited that the National Book Critics Circle will recognize his contributions formally at the NBCC’s Award Ceremony at the New School in New York on March 13.