Tengo Sed by James Fleming, part of the Literature and Medicine Series from the University of New Mexico Press, has won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction.
Chosen by a distinguished panel of writers, editors, critics and journalists, the Literary Awards represent the best writing in the western states. The award presentation takes place at the 21st Annual Literary Awards Festival at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Against the backdrop of a trauma-surgical ICU, Tengo Sed recounts a day in the life of a hapless, chain-smoking, middle-aged intern in emergency medicine who refers to himself as Hovercraft because of his tendency to hover around the other doctors and on the periphery of the work in the ER. Philosophical with a tendency toward mysticism, Hovercraft is doing his best to navigate the treacherous terrain of medical education and practice with an increasing sense of dread that his career may be doomed. Through his sleep-deprived eyes readers catch intimate glimpses of patients and their families, doctors, and nurses and share Hovercraft's own nightmarish perceptions of a world in which things are not going right.
Fleming is assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and an attending physician in the Emergency Department of the Veterans Administration hospital in Albuquerque.
PEN Center USA has a membership of more than 600 professional writers and strives to protect the rights of writers around the world, to stimulate interest in the written word, and to foster a vital literary community among the diverse writers living in the western states.