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Fernando Rivas Martinez

I’m a Cuban-born music composer, Julliard graduate 1977, and writer. I came to the U.S. in 1961, grew up in Miami, Florida and moved to New York in 1970 to attend music school (Manhattan School of Music, the Julliard School). I lived in the metro New York area until 1999, moved that year to Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve been the recipient of two Emmys and one Grammy as part of the creative team at Children’s Television Network for the shows Sesame Street and Gullah Gullah Island. I also receive the Richard Rodgers Prize for Musical Theater in 1997 with writer Luis Santeiro for the musical Barrio Barbies. In 2016 I won an Honorable Mention from PEN America’s Prison Writing Program and in 2019 and 2020 I was the winner of the “Insider’s Prize” hosted by American Short Fiction for my short stories. I’ve written for the Marshall Project and my poetry is featured on the website “Minutes Before Six.” My essays on prison life and other writings have occasionally gotten me into hot water with prison administration.

Winner, 2022 PEN America Prison Writing Contest – 3rd Place in Poetry for “Inquiry”

2016 PEN America Prison Writing Contest – Honorable Mention in Poetry for “300 Min.”

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