Manuel Luis Martinez and Stefan Merrill Block have been awarded the 2011-2012 Dobie Paisano writing fellowships sponsored by the Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters.
The fellowships allow writers to spend four to six months at the Paisano Ranch, J. Frank Dobie’s former retreat west of Austin, now owned and maintained by The University of Texas at Austin. The Dobie Paisano Fellowship Program provides solitude, time and a comfortable place for Texas writers or writers who have written significantly about Texas.
Martinez, an associate professor of 20th century American literature, American studies, Chicano/Latino studies and creative writing at Ohio State University has been named the Ralph A. Johnston fellow and will spend four months at the ranch. His first novel, “Crossing,” was chosen as one of the 10 outstanding books by a writer of color. His second novel, “Drift,” was chosen as one of the best books of 2004 by the American Library Association. His latest novel is “Day of the Dead.” Martinez is a regular contributor of reviews and essays to the Chicago Tribune. He is working on the film adaptation of “Drift” and completing work on a new novel, “Fortunate Monsters,” which follows the travails of a Mexican-American family coping with the death of a father in San Antonio.
Block received the Jesse Jones fellowship, which will allow him to spend six months at the ranch. His first novel, “The Story of Forgetting,” won Best First Fiction at the Rome International Festival of Literature, the 2008 Merck Serono Literature Prize and the 2009 Fiction Award from The Writers’ League of Texas. “The Story of Forgetting” was also named a best book of 2008 by The Austin Chronicle, The Independent (UK), and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and it was a finalist for the debut fiction awards from IndieBound, Salon du Livre and The Center for Fiction. His second novel, “The Storm at the Door,” will be released in the summer of 2011. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly describes “The Storm at the Door” as “masterful heartbreaking [an] incredibly moving story of life, love, and mental illness It’s this generation’s ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.'”
Learn more about the Dobie Paisano Fellowship Program.