Sabine Heinlein, 2011 Award Winner
Sabine Heinlein explores the injustices and idiosyncrasies of American life through her immersion in the lives of those living on its fringes. Her first book, Among Murderers, published by the University of California Press, is a work of literary nonfiction about three men navigating their new freedom after several decades in prison. The book had its origins when she spent time with convicted murderers at a halfway house in New York City's West Harlem neighborhood.
Heinlein says the book "provides an intimate sketch of a rarely seen demographic and reveals a pressing public policy issue: More than 700,000 people are released from prisons each year, and these numbers are growing steadily."
At the time she received the Margolis award, Heinlein also was at work on a collection of essays tentatively titled A Portrait of the Writer as a Rabbit exploring what life is like for "New York City's underdogs: unfunny clowns, sleepy mattress salesmen and unhinged fortune tellers."
"While I strive to accurately portray 'how the other half lives,' I also believe that making myself an active part of the story adds to its meaning," Heinlein says.
Heinlein graduated from New York University with a master's degree in journalism in 2007. She has been awarded a Yaddo residency and fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a residency at the MacDowell Colony.
Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Idler, The Iowa Review, Tablet Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and Die Zeit, among other publications. One of her essays won the 2010 American Literary Review Nonfiction Award. Heinlein teaches writing at Mount Saint Vincent College in the Bronx, New York.