Books

My essay collection, Mine, won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize and will be published by the University of New Mexico Press in February of 2018. This book combines literary journalism and memoir in order to consider what it means to own and to be owned–from your own body and children, to your inherited sins and environmental debts. In the personal narrative developed over the course of the book, the concept of “mine” also serves as a cairn of sorts, marking each major turn: from my experience as a young, closeted newspaper reporter in the south, to a openly queer writer living abroad, to a married woman and a mother in a state where, until two years ago, both my marriage to my wife and my legal guardianship of our child were legally precarious.

Judge Andre Dubus III had this to say about the book:

“With wonderfully precise and evocative prose, Sarah Viren takes us deeply into her search for her very self – from the haunted, swampy heat of Florida to the arid West Texas plains, from a simmering volcano in Guatemala to an icy country road in the matted cornfields of Iowa, these superb essays lay bare our universal pining for a place to call one’s own, for a life-long lover with whom to share it, and for all the disparate shards of our far flung lives to come together, at least fleetingly, as a return to one’s true home. Mine is not only moving, it is instructive and nourishing in a way that only art can deliver. This book is a gem.”

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My translation of the novella Cielos de córdoba (Córdoba Skies) by Federico Falco was published by Ploughshares Solos in the spring of 2016. This novella, set in the Córdoba region of Argentina, tells the coming-of-age story of a little boy named Tino, whose parents own a UFO museum. Ploughshares describes the book this way:

“When 11-year-old Tino isn’t sitting quietly in school, he’s either visiting his dying mother in the hospital or making sure his UFO-obsessed father eats dinner. A loner among his peers, Tino is surprised when Omar, the strongest boy in school, befriends him out of the blue. Will Tino’s intrigue outweigh his self-imposed isolation? Written by Federico Falco and translated from Spanish by Sarah Viren, “Córdoba Skies” is coming of age story similar to the river Tino likes to play in: inviting and winding, yet not without the occasional burst of rapids.”

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Federico Falco is an Argentine poet and fiction writer (and a good friend). His book Lahora de los monos was chosen as one of the best Argentine books of 2010 by the magazine Revista Ñ. His stories have been widely published and anthologized, including in Granta magazine’s anthology of The Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists and in Open Letter’s 2012 book The Future is Not Ours: New Latin American Fiction. Falco is a graduate of the Spanish-language creative writing MFA program at New York University and, in 2012, he was a visiting writer with the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. His translated stories have appeared invarious U.S.-based literary magazines including the Massachusetts Review and Kenyon Review Online.