2011 New Voices Award WinnersBy LEE & LOW BOOKS
New York, NY—January 18, 2012—LEE & LOW BOOKS is proud to announce that Jennifer A. Torres of Stockton, California, is the winner of the company’s twelfth annual New Voices Award. Her charming and colorful story, Live at the Cielito Lindo, portrays a determined young Latina girl, Marisol, whose music-loving family owns a Mexican restaurant named the Cielito Lindo. Marisol’s grandfather played mariachi, traditional Mexican dance music, which has been called “the musical voice of the people.” When Marisol accidentally damages her grandfather’s vihuela, a type of Spanish guitar, she ventures out to find someone who can fix it. On her journey to repair his instrument, she discovers the many ways her grandfather’s music has touched the entire community.
Jennifer A. Torres is a Latina writer and freelance journalist. She also works at the University of the Pacific developing community partnerships that aim to improve the quality of life in her region, especially in the area of education. She was motivated to pursue writing after her mother gave her a copy of Chicana Falsa by Michele Serros, which Torres describes as “the first time I saw my cultural identity and the motifs of my adolescence so closely and vibrantly reflected in literature.” Torres will receive a prize of $1,000 and a publication contract.
LEE & LOW BOOKS is also proud to announce that Wendy Miyake of Mililani, Hawaii, has been chosen as an Honor winner for her manuscript, The Sky Blanket, about a young boy’s relationship with his beloved grandfather. Full of beautiful images, this gentle tale of love and loss is based on a Japanese belief that when a person dies, he or she becomes a star in the sky that watches over loved ones. Although he has lost his grandfather, Kotaro learns that he can still remember him and feel close to him when he looks up at the sky. A third-generation Japanese American born and raised in Hawaii, Miyake teaches creative writing at the college level. She has written two books for adults and her stories and poems have appeared in several literary journals and anthologies. Miyake will receive a prize of $500.20