Earlier this week we reported that Sandra Cisneros was awarded the distinguished PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. Aside from this incredible recognition, the author’s award also comes with a $50,000 monetary prize. In an interview with NBC News, Cisneros announced that she isn’t keeping the money for herself, but rather giving it away. She said she is planning to give her thousands in award money to her assistants so they can buy a home.
“With money and fame comes responsibility, and the amount is exactly what they need,” Cisneros told NBC News. “They’ve been looking for loans, and the interest in Mexico is 39 percent. I can’t describe how happy it makes me to be able to do this for them.”
Cisneros, who’s been living in the picturesque town of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico since 2013, said that it’s important to give back when she has received so much.
“I believe that there is a law in the universe that all the work we do is in service to those we love, and it’s always going to bring us better rewards and fortune. It puts us in a state of grace when you are in service to your community,” she said.
It is that commitment to service as a writer that PEN America Literary Awards Program Director Nadxieli Nieto attributed her incredible contribution to the literary world and more importantly to the Latinx community.
“She has expanded American literature to include the Americas beyond the United States, inspiring a new era of Latinx writers we see emerging today, many of whom are shortlisted for our book awards. A focus on cross-cultural dialogue, translation, and international literature has long been at the heart of PEN America’s Literary Awards program, and it is especially fitting that a binational writer with such an impressive and lyrical body of work, is the PEN/Nabokov honoree this year. We are immensely honored to present this award to Sandra Cisneros.”
The author said it is her mission to help writers that need encouragement and guidance, which is something they desperately need.
“Latino writers were not being published by the mainstream press, so we had to publish ourselves,” Cisneros said about her early days as an unknown writer. “I feel it’s our responsibility to support young Latino and Latina writers who are probably being discouraged by their families not to write and who are not being published by the big presses. Also, not all the good writers get attention and win awards, so I feel I need to give back.”
She is giving back in so many ways!