Our Lost Border Wins a Southwest Book Award!

HOUSTON, TX January, 2014—Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence, edited by Sarah Cortez and Sergio Troncoso, is one of only twelve titles that has been selected to receive a 2013 Southwest Book Award by the Border Regional Library Association. This collection contains personal essays in English and Spanish that deal with the impact of drug violence on people living along the Texas-Mexico border.

The Border Regional Library Association (BRLA) is an organization founded in 1966 for the promotion of library service and librarianship in the El Paso/Las Cruces/Juárez metroplex. Current membership includes over 100 librarians, paraprofessionals, media specialists and library friends and trustees from all types of libraries in the tri-state area of Trans-Pecos Texas, Southern New Mexico and Northern Chihuahua.

Editors Sarah Cortez and Sergio Troncoso write that this anthology was “born of a vision to bear witness to how violence has shattered life on the border, to remember the past, but also to point to the possibilities of a better future.” According to Publishers Weekly, this “eye-opening collection of essays details struggles of Mexican and American citizens affected by drug cartels along the Mexican-American border. Oscillating between gruesome and hopeful, the collection…is imbued with optimism.” This collection is a must-read for anyone interested in how this fragile way of life—between two cultures, languages and countries—has been undermined by the drug trade and crime that accompanies it, with ramifications far beyond the border region.

Sarah Cortez is a poet, educator, and law enforcement officer. She is the author of a memoir, Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston (Texas Review Press, 2012), and a poetry collection, How to Undress a Cop (Arte Publico Press, 2000), which won the PEN Texas Literary Award in Poetry. She is the editor of Windows into My World: Latino Youth Write Their Lives (Pinata Books, 2007), winner of a 2008 Skipping Stones Honor Award; Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery (Arte Público Press, 2009); You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens (Piñata Books, 2011) and Indian Country Noir (Akashic Books, 2010). She lives and works in Houston, Texas.

Sergio Troncoso, is the author of Crossing Borders: Personal Essays (Arte Público Press, 2011), From This Wicked Patch of Dust (University of Arizona Press, 2011), The Nature of Truth (Northwestern University Press, 2003) and The Last Tortilla and Other Stories (University of Arizona Press, 1999), which won the Premio Aztlán and the Southwest Book Award. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and two graduate degrees, in international relations and philosophy, from Yale University. He won a Fulbright scholarship to Mexico and was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Alumni Hall of Fame. A resident faculty member of the Yale Writers’ Conference, he lives and works in New York City.

Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors.  Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the realistic and authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters, and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity.