My Year in Writing: 2020

November 18, 2020

2020 has been a difficult year in many respects: a global pandemic, over 1.3 million deaths worldwide and climbing, and, here in the U.S., a destabilizing and despicable government response to the pandemic and to escalating racial tensions, as well as a contentious presidential election that threatened the country’s 244-year experiment in democracy.

In short, it’s been tough to find moments to celebrate and, when we do celebrate, it is too often alone, distanced from others, or “together” on Zoom. One response to this “unprecedented” year (may we strike that word from future dictionaries) was to feel paralyzed. And, truth be told, I felt exactly that–paralyzed–for the first few weeks of the pandemic’s surfacing in the U.S.

Shortly, however, I felt that response was not worthy to the challenges–and it didn’t make things better or even make me feel better, as the sirens blared and the death toll rose. Another response was to turn to work, which in my case meant writing. It felt like a choice between surviving and going mad.

Now is generally the time of year—between my birthday and year’s end—when I take stock of my writing life over the past twelve months. This year, I was curious to see how I did. So, here goes:

  • Received an award for FALLING UP from Letras Lavadas, in conjunction with PEN Açores, and a Nautilus Award for DWELLING. FALLING UP also received notices from Book Authority for Best New Memoir and Best New Family Books.
  • Finished a complete draft of my Work-in-Progress, a research-driven memoir I’m calling THE OTHERS IN ME: A Journey to Discover Ancestry, Identity, and Lost Heritage, and submitted proposal to Tagus Press.
  • A chapter from THE OTHERS IN ME, “Steerage,” about my great-grandparents’s journeys from the Azores to America, appeared in VIAGENS, a volume of literary journeys by some of the best Azorean writers writing today (and then there’s my piece), published by Letras Lavadas.
  • Finished a long poem, “Azorean Suite,” a section of which appeared in Gávea-Brown: A Bilingual Journal last year, in my original English and in a Portuguese translation by Azorean poet, José Francisco Costa; then I translated the entire poem into Portuguese with Eduardo Bettencourt Pinto, for bilingual book publication as AZOREAN SUITE/SUITE AÇORIANA by Letras Lavadas in Fall 2020.
  • Facebook Live with Vamberto Freitas, Katherine Vaz, Eduardo Bettencourt Pinto, and Onésimo Almeida held on 6 Nov and interview in Portuguese-American Journal with Carolina Matos published on the 5th marked the official launch of AZOREAN SUITE/SUITE AÇORIANA. (Watch it here: Launch event)
  • Essay, “My Pessoa,” along with translations of two Pessoa poems (including the complete “Tabaccaria,” which I completed this Spring), and three of my own poems with Portuguese themes, will appear in Pessoa Plural in December.
  • My foreword to David Swartz’s English translation of Nuno Júdice’s novella, THE RELIGIOUS MANTLE, published in August by New Meridian Arts.
  • Contracted to translate Vitorino Nemésio’s CORSÁRIO DAS ILHAS into English for first time, which Tagus Press will publish as part of their Bellis Azorica Series. Started translation and got through and initial draft of the first 10 chapters.
  • Translated four poems from DWELLING into Portuguese for a special edition of Colóquio/Letras journal, which Nuno Júdice edits for the Gulbenkian Foundation, on Literratura e ecologia, and to which he asked me to submit.
  • Translated five poems of Vitorino Nemésio, submitted to Gavéa-Brown Journal.
  • Participated in Dani Shapiro’s writing retreat at Kripalu (in person, just before the pandemic hit!), participated in “Lusodaisporac” Writing Workshop in June organized by Christopher Larkosh at UMass Dartmouth, took Diniz Borges’s Azorean History and Culture course from Fresno State University (distance), continued my Portuguese language studies, and will participate in Suzanne Roberts’s Travel Writing seminar at end of November. [UPDATE: Participated in Arquipélago de Escritores event in December.]

And finally updated my website, scottedwardanderson.com, which was long overdue…

…despite everything, not a bad writing year!

[UPDATE: Signed a contract with Shanti Arts for a new collection, WINE-DARK SEA: NEW & SELECTED POEMS & TRANSLATIONS]

4 Responses to “My Year in Writing: 2020”


  1. That’s impressive list achieved just in one year!

  2. thetorzorean Says:

    Hi Scott, congratulations on your remarkable achievements in writing in 2020. This is an impressive list of wonderful and significant contributions to the worlds of literature and the Portuguese diaspora in North America in particular.
    Well done and much continued success. The year is not over yet!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: