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Frank Kensaku Saragosa

I’m starting to write seriously late in life, but I want to put what I’ve experienced to some use. When I got taken into federal custody, I had been living on the streets for over two years, and so, it was hard to be in prison, coming from a place of unfathomable loss, to conceive of being able to build any kind of future. Writing in prison helped me begin to make sense of experiences that I could not understand, and as I continued, I began to believe that in my work, I had something of value to contribute. I write about addiction, homelessness, criminality and incarceration; I wrote both fiction and non-fiction, and a lot of my work sits right in the space where they meet. I’ve been exploring experimental and hybrid forms as a way of rendering experiences which are, by their nature, out of bounds and illegible. What motivates me to write is my desire to convey the humanity of the people I’ve lived with, and the communities I’ve lived among. I don’t imagine my work will appeal to everyone, but I hope people who’ve been on the streets and in prison will say “yes, that’s exactly what it’s like.”

Winner, 2022 PEN America Prison Writing Contest – 1st Place in Fiction for “Life. In Pieces”

Winner, 2022 PEN America Prison Writing Contest – 1st Place in Nonfiction Essay for “Homelessness in America”

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