Katherine Vaz

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Katherine Vaz
Vaz photo resized.jpg
photo by Christopher Cerf
Born August 26, 1955
Castro Valley, California
Occupation Writer
Nationality United States
Genre Novels, short stories, non-fiction, children’s literature

Katherine Vaz (born August 26, 1955) is an American writer. A Briggs-Copeland Fellow in Fiction at Harvard University (2003-9), a 2006-7 Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study,[1] and the Fall, 2012 Harman Fellow at Baruch College in New York,[2] she is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Saudade (St. Martin’s Press, 1994), the first contemporary novel about Portuguese-Americans from a major New York publisher. It was optioned by Marlee Matlin/Solo One Productions and selected in the Barnes & Nobles Discover Great New Writers series.[3]

Her second novel, Mariana, (HarperCollins, 1997), was selected by the Library of Congress as one of the Top 30 International Books of 1998 and has been translated into six languages.[4]

Vaz's first short story collection Fado & Other Stories received the 1997 Drue Heinz Literature Prize [5] and her second collection, Our Lady of the Artichokes, won the 2007 Prairie Schooner Book Prize.[6]

Vaz is a recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1993) [7] and the Davis Humanities Institute Fellowship (1999). She has been named by the Luso-Americano as one of the Top 50 Luso-Americanos of the twentieth century [8] and is the first Portuguese-American to have her work recorded for the Library of Congress, housed in the Hispanic Division. The Portuguese-American Women’s Association (PAWA) named her 2003 Woman of the Year.[9] She was appointed to the six-person U.S. Presidential Delegation to open the American Pavilion at the World’s Fair/Expo 98 in Lisbon.[10] She lives in New York City and the Springs area of East Hampton with Christopher Cerf, whom she married in July, 2015.[11]


Published works[edit]


  • Saudade (St. Martin’s Press, June 1994)
  • Mariana (HarperCollins/Flamingo, 1997)

Story collections[edit]

Short stories[edit]


  • “Songs of the Soul, Songs of the Night,” The New York Times, Sophisticated Traveler Magazine, September 18, 1994
  • Signatures of Grace (Dutton, 2000). Essay on Baptism. (In conjunction with Mary Gordon, Andre Dubus, Patricia Hampl, Ron Hansen, Paula Huston, Paul Mariani).
  • “Carving the Fruitstones,” for anthology about short fiction, 2004, Greenwood Publications.
  • “This Howling,” essay on the Azores/introduction to novel by João de Melo (My World Is Not of This Kingdom, translated from Portuguese by Gregory Rabassa), Aliform Press, 2003.

Children's literature[edit]

  • “The Kingdom of Melting Glances” short story in A Wolf at the Door (Simon & Schuster, 2000, in fourth printing)
  • “A World Painted by Birds” in Green Man anthology (Viking, 2002)
  • “My Swan Sister,” title story in Swan Sister and Other Stories (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
  • “Your Garnet Eyes,”in anthology Faery Reel, (Viking, 2004)
  • “Chamber Music for Animals,” in Coyote Road anthology (Viking, 2006)