Meet this year’s Read Brave rock star

Author of 'Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe' makes visit to St. Paul as part of young adult literature program

This article originally appeared in the Pioneer Press on Sunday, February 25, 2018.
By Mary Ann Grossmann |

For everyone who loves Ben Saenz’s award-winning novel “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” the author says the much-anticipated sequel is finished, scheduled to be published in 2018.

“The title is not ‘There Will Be Other Summers,’ but I won’t tell you what it will be,” Saenz teases, referring to the working title ricocheting around social media. (Keep reading for a few more sequel hints.)

Saenz, 63, will be in St. Paul this week as author of St. Paul Public Library’s Read Brave book. An award-winning poet and author who writes for adults and teens, he is a retired college professor and former priest who came out as gay when he was 54.

Young fans of “Aristotle and Dante” have been freaking out about the sequel for months. One video shows a kid jumping up and down with excitement at the news. No wonder Poets & Writers magazine named Saenz one of its Fifty Most Inspiring Authors in the World.

In a telephone conversation from his home in El Paso, Texas, you hear in Saenz’s voice compassion, love of writing, strong feelings about literature and the current political scene, a joyfulness about life in general, and his affection for his characters Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana.