The inaugural 2016 Diverse Literary Voices Texas Fiction Award Winners are:
- Evelyn Palfrey, winner of the Legacy Award
- Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, winner of the Fiction of the Year Award
- Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, winner of the Rising Star Award
- Jacob Grovey, winner of the Rising Star Award
2016 Legacy Award Winner Evelyn Palfrey
As the winner of the Legacy Award, Evelyn Palfrey is being honored for writing inspiring novels for 20 years about black protagonists that are “marvelously mature,” set in Texas. Evelyn Palfrey is a native Texan and a lawyer who writes romantic suspense for the ‘marvelously mature’—because romance is just as sweet with a little gray at the temple. She is the author of five novels that deal with issues that are common to the middle passage of life, and reflect her 30 years practice of criminal and family law—and her love of RV travel.
Evelyn began writing fiction in 1995, driven by the realization that although many romance readers were like her—at middle age and starting a new phase of life—they weren’t represented as romance heroines. Three Perfect Men was the first book of a trilogy about three women who had been college roommates in the ‘60’s. Three women take an RV trip to a placid East Texas lake, and become involved in a murder—and three perfect men. The Price of Passion, a novel about marriage and betrayal set in Austin, followed the next year. Her sister’s remark about the absence of full-figured women as romance heroines propelled her to write Dangerous Dilemmas. Her fourth novel, Everything In Its Place, grew out of recognition that many women who thought they had finished raising children, are now raising grandchildren. Going Home is the story of a retired woman who invites a Katrina evacuee to move into her home.
Evelyn’s novels have been on the Essence Magazine bestseller list, the BookSense ‘76 list, and have been Black Expressions selections. The Price of Passion was awarded Best Multicultural Book by Romantic Times Magazine. Evelyn’s story, “The Lady at the Bus Stop,” was published in Chicken Soup for the African-American Soul, and her story, “Mama’s Hands,” was published in Chicken Soup for the African-American Woman’s Soul. She has also been a contributor to Black Issues Book Review. Evelyn was nominated for a Career Achievement Award by Romantic Times. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Austin Public Library Foundation, Travis County Lawyer Referral Service, Austin Community Radio, Inc., Writers League of Texas, Texas Municipal Courts Education Center, and the State Bar of Texas. In 2012, she was awarded the Emma Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam. To purchase copies of her books go to: http://evelynpalfrey.com/novels.htm. To listen to the KAZI Book Review interview with Evelyn Palfrey click the play button below:
2016 Fiction of the Year Award Winner Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s wonderful 2016 novel, BEFORE WE VISIT THE GODDESS, is the 2016 Texas Fiction of the Year. It is a multigenerational novel covering the emotional lives of three Indian women, Sabitri, the matriarch born and raised in India, her daughter Bela, who runs away to America with a college radical never to come back to India, and Tara, the granddaughter in America that Sabitri never sees. Spanning from the 1940s to 2020, the novel charts the efforts of each of the women to take control of their lives while overcoming the consequences of bad decisions and tragedies. With settings in India, Oakland, Houston, and Austin, BEFORE WE VISIT THE GODDESS, brings to light the immigrant experience of Indians, and the impact of the weakening of family ties to their native land.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning and bestselling author, poet, activist and teacher of writing. Her work has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthlyand The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories, the O.Henry Prize Stories and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. Her books have been translated into 29 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Bengali, Russian and Japanese, and many of them have been used for campus-wide and city-wide reads. Several of her works have been made into films and plays. She lives in Houston with her husband Murthy and has two sons, Anand and Abhay, who are in college. She loves to connect with readers on her Facebook page. To purchase copies of her books go to: http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/books/. To listen to the KAZI Book Review interview with Chitra Divakaruni click the play button below:
2016 Rising Star Award Winner Antonio Ruiz-Camacho
With his short story collection published in 2015, BAREFOOT DOGS, former journalist Antonio Ruiz-Camacho stormed on Austin’s book scene with a literary debut that captured the angst and tragedy of a Mexican family whose patriarch is kidnapped. Currently working on his debut novel, Ruiz-Camacho is truly a rising star in Texas fiction.
Antonio Ruiz-Camacho was born and raised in Toluca, Mexico. A former Knight Journalism fellow at Stanford University, a Dobie Paisano fellow in fiction by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters, and a Walter E. Dakin fellow in fiction at Sewanee Writers’ Conference, he earned his MFA from The New Writers Project at UT Austin. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Texas Monthly, The Millions, and elsewhere. His debut story collection BAREFOOT DOGS won the Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction, and was named a Best Book of 2015 by Kirkus Reviews, San Francisco Chronicle, Texas Observer and PRI’s The World. It was published in Spanish translation by the author, and is forthcoming in Dutch. Antonio lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, where he’s currently at work on a novel.
To purchase copies of his books go to: http://antonioruizcamacho.com/Antonio_Ruiz_Camacho/barefoot_dogs.html. To listen to the KAZI Book Review interview with Antonio Ruiz-Camacho click the play button below:
2016 Rising Star Award Winner Jacob Grovey
Although he is not even 40 yet, Jacob Grovey has published three books and is founder of Global Genius Society, a global community of artists and art lovers. His 2016 novel, DANCE OF THE BROKEN, tells the inspirational story of a young black girl who dreams of being a ballerina, despite society’s opinion that she’s cut from the wrong cloth.
Jacob began writing early in life. At the age of eight, he first saw people actually valued his words. He was offered the opportunity to write for a magazine, but as great as the opportunity was, Jacob passed on it because he didn’t want any pressure to be associated with his writing. As the years passed, he found himself writing less and less, and before he knew it, he had gone several years without writing anything. As he thought back to the times when he wrote daily, he soon became upset with himself for going so long without putting his thoughts onto paper. In 2003, he vowed to never let that happen again. Now he says, “I promise you, the times that you’ll catch me without some sort of notepad and pencil are gonna be few and far between because you never know when the inspiration will hit.”
To purchase copies of his books go to: http://www.globalgeniussociety.com/store/c7/Jacob_Grovey.html. To listen to the KAZI Book Review interview with Jacob Grovey click the play button below:
Evelyn Palfrey, author of Going Home, “a marvelously mature romance novel”, is the first guest on the June 19 edition of KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7 FM, 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. central time. Palfrey will be appearing at the 5th Annual Austin African American Book Festival on June 25 at the Carver Library and Museum. The second guest is Christopher Chabris, co-author of The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intentions Deceive Us. Listen live online at kazifm.org.
Going Home By Evelyn Palfrey
Set in Austin shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Going Home’s plot revolves around Thalia Allen, a recently retired state agency worker who strikes up a romance with a Katrina evacuee Joe Lambert. She meets Lambert at the Austin Convention where she is doing volunteer work to help the Katrina victims. Lambert is torn between staying in Austin with his new found love Thalia, and going back to New Orleans to rebuild the construction business he left behind.
Palfrey is the author of the trilogy Three Perfect Men, The Price of Passion, and Dangerous Dilemmas–the stories of three college roommates, 25 years later; and the grandmommy romance, Everything In Its Place. Evelyn’s writing has been described as “superb storytelling.” is a native Texan, a graduate of Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas Law School. She is an avid motorhomer and gardener, and is active with the Writers League of Texas and the Austin Romance Writers of America. She has been writing fiction since 1995.
The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons
In The Invisible Gorilla, the authors use a wide assortment of stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to reveal an important truth: Our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we’re actually missing a whole lot.
They combine the work of other researchers with their findings on attention, perception, memory, and reasoning to reveal how faulty intuitions often get us into trouble. In the process, they explain:
- Why a company would spend billions to launch a product that its own analysts know will fail
- How a police officer could run right past a brutal assault without seeing it
- Why award-winning movies are full of editing mistakes
- What criminals have in common with chess masters
- Why measles and other childhood diseases are making a comeback
- Why money managers could learn a lot from weather forecasters
Chris Chabris received his B.A. in computer science and his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University, where he was also a Lecturer and Research Associate for many years. He is now Assistant Professor of Psychology at Union College in Schenectady, New York, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology at Albany Medical College, and a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. His research focuses on two main areas: how people differ from one another in mental abilities and patterns of behavior, and how cognitive illusions affect our decisions.