Jennifer Clement

Jennifer Clement

Jennifer Clement is the President of PEN International and the first woman to be elected since the organization was founded in 1921. Clement grew up in Mexico City, Mexico. She studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French Literature in Paris, France. She has an MFA from the University of Southern Maine.From 2009 to 2012, Clement was president of PEN Mexico and her work focused on the disappearance and killing of journalists. Human rights issues have motivated her writing. In 2014 she was awarded the Sara Curry Humanitarian Award for her novel Prayers for the Stolen that involved over ten years of research on the stealing of young girls in Mexico.Clement is the author three novels Prayers for the Stolen, A True Story Based on Lies and The Poison That Fascinates. She also wrote the acclaimed memoir Widow Basquiat (on the painter Jean Michel Basquiat and New York City in the early 1980s). Clement is also the author of several books of poetry: The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin); Newton’s Sailor; Lady of the Broom and Jennifer Clement: New and Selected Poems. Her prize-winning story, “A Salamander-Child” is published as an art book with work by the Mexican painter Gustavo Monroy. Clement’s books have been translated into 24 languages.Prayers for the Stolen was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Book, First Selection for National Reading Group Month’s Great Group Reads and appeared internationally on many “Best Books of the Year” lists, including that of The Irish Times. The novel was awarded France’s Grand Prix des Lectrices Lyceenes de ELLE, The Sara Curry Humanitarian Award and was finalist for 2015′s PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.Other honours include the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Fellowship for Literature in 2012, the UK’s Canongate Prize, a Santa Maddalena Fellowship, the MacDowell Colony’s Robert and Stephanie Olmsted Fellowship and, due to her humanitarian work, Clement was awarded a City of Asylum Residency in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Her novel A True Story Based on Lies was an Orange Prize finalist and Prayers for the Stolen was a Prix Femina finalist in France. She is a member of Mexico’s prestigious “Sistema Nacional de Creadores.”Several of Clement’s works have been adapted for the stage. Her novel on the mistreatment of servants in Mexico, A True Story Based on Lies, was staged in France by the Traits de Marque Company and in Mexico by The National Theatre of Mexico and adapted by Ximena Escalante. Ados Teatro in Spain is currently adapting Prayers for the Stolen for the stage and the BBC is creating a 5-episode radio play of Prayers for the Stolen with an adaptation by Jeff Young.Nineteen years ago, Jennifer Clement and her sister, Barbara Sibley, founded The San Miguel Poetry Week in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
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