PEN Literary Awards Longlists Announced

According to its website, “PEN American Center is the largest of the 145 centers of PEN PEN America logoInternational, the world’s leading human rights and international literary organization. PEN International was founded in 1921 to dispel national, ethnic, and racial tensions and to promote understanding among all countries. PEN American Center, founded a year later, works to advance literature, to defend free expression, and to foster international literary fellowship. Its 2,000 distinguished members carry on the achievements in literature and advancement of human rights of such past members as James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Arthur Miller, Marianne Moore, Eugene O’Neill, Susan Sontag, and John Steinbeck.”

On Tuesday, May 5, PEN released longlists of titles in the running to win their awards (the shortlists will be announced on June 17 with the winners announced on July 30).  Here is a list of nominated works, and their judges.  How many have you read?

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2013—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

Judges: Charles Bock, Jonathan Dee, Fiona Maazel, and Karen Shepard

  • A History of the Present Illness (Bloomsbury), Louise Aronson
  • Middle Men (Simon & Schuster), Jim Gavin
  • Bogotá (TriQuarterly Books), Alan Grostephan
  • The Morels (Soho Press Inc.), Christopher Hacker
  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Hogarth), Anthony Marra
  • We All Sleep In the Same Room (Rare Bird Books, A Barnacle Book), Paul Rome
  • Brief Encounters With the Enemy (The Dial Press), Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
  • Everybody’s Irish (FiveChapters Books), Ian Stansel
  • Godforsaken Idaho (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Shawn Vestal
  • The People in the Trees (Doubleday), Hanya Yanagihara

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2013 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

Judges: Geoff Dyer, Stanley Fish, Ariel Levy, and Cheryl Strayed

  • Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume II (New York Review Books), Martin Filler
  • The Kraus Project (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Jonathan Franzen
  • Stories We Tell Ourselves (University of Iowa Press), Michelle Herman
  • The Blind Masseuse (University of Wisconsin Press), Alden Jones
  • Forty-One False Starts (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Janet Malcolm
  • Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls (Little, Brown and Company), David Sedaris
  • The Faraway Nearby (Viking Adult), Rebecca Solnit
  • Critical Mass (Doubleday), James Wolcott

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): For a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical or biological sciences published in 2013.

Judges: Akiko Busch, Rivka Galchen, and Eileen Pollack

  • Frankenstein’s Cat (Scientific American / Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Emily Anthes
  • The End of Night (Little, Brown and Company), Paul Bogard
  • Five Days at Memorial (Crown), Sheri Fink
  • High Price (Harper), Carl Hart
  • Surfaces and Essences (Basic Books), Douglas Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander
  • Wild Ones (Penguin Press), Jon Mooallem
  • Gulp (W.W. Norton & Company), Mary Roach
  • Weird Life (W.W. Norton & Company), David Toomey
  • What the Dog Knows (Touchstone), Cat Warren
  • Paleofantasy (W.W. Norton & Company), Marlene Zuk

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2013.

Judges: Catherine Chung, Randa Jarrar, and Monica Youn

  • Southern Cross the Dog (Ecco), Bill Cheng
  • Duppy Conqueror (Copper Canyon Press), Kwame Dawes
  • Leaving Tulsa (University of Arizona Press), Jennifer Elise Foerster
  • The Cineaste (W.W. Norton & Company), A. Van Jordan
  • domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press), Ruth Ellen Kocher
  • Cowboys and East Indians (FiveChapters Books), Nina McConigley
  • A Tale for the Time Being (Viking Adult), Ruth Ozeki
  • Visiting Hours at the Color Line (Milkweed Editions), Ed Pavlić
  • Ghana Must Go (Penguin Press), Taiye Selasi

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2013.

Judges: James Atlas, Lisa Cohen, and Wendy Gimbel

  • Lawrence in Arabia (Doubleday), Scott Anderson
  • Wilson (Putnam), A. Scott Berg
  • Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Linda Leavell
  • Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns (Other Press), David Margolick
  • Margaret Fuller (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Megan Marshall
  • Roth Unbound (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Claudia Roth Pierpont
  • American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Deborah Solomon
  • A Life of Barbara Stanwyck (Simon & Schuster), Victoria Wilson

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2013.

Judges: Joel Drucker, Chad Harbach, and Jackie MacMullan

  • Mickey and Willie (Crown Archetype), Allen Barra
  • Monsters (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Rich Cohen
  • Collision Low Crossers (Little, Brown and Company), Nicholas Dawidoff
  • The Sports Gene (Current), David Epstein
  • League of Denial (Crown Archetype), Mike Fainaru-Wada & Steve Fainaru
  • The Emerald Mile (Scribner), Kevin Fedarko
  • Francona (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Terry Francona & Dan Shaughnessy
  • Their Life’s Work (Simon & Schuster), Gary M. Pomerantz
  • Game Over (The New Press), Dave Zirin

PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ($5,000): To a writer for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2013.

Judges: Mac Barnett, Ted Lewin, and Elizabeth Winthrop

  • Train (Orchard Books), Elisha Cooper
  • Tea Party Rules (Viking), Ame Dyckman
  • Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo (Wordsong), Nancy Bo Flood
  • Look Up! Bird-Watching In Your Own Backyard (Candlewick Press), Annette LeBlanc Cate
  • The King of Little Things (Peachtree Publishers), Bil Lepp
  • Crabtree (McSweeney’s McMullens), Jon & Tucker Nichols
  • Bugs In My Hair! (The Blue Sky Press), David Shannon
  • Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? (Henry Holt and Company), Tanya Lee Stone

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2013.

Judge: Kimiko Hahn

  • Black Stars: Poems by Ngo Tu Lap (Milkweed Editions), Martha Collins & Ngo Tu Lap
  • Even Now: Poems by Hugo Claus (Archipelago), David Colmer
  • Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos (Archipelago), Karen Emmerich & Edmund Keeley
  • fungus skull eye wing by Alfonso D’Aquino (Copper Canyon Press), Forrest Gander
  • Impromptus by Gottfried Benn (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Michael Hofmann
  • Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson by Yosa Buson (Copper Canyon Press), Takako Lento & W.S. Merwin
  • The Colonies by Tomasz Różycki (Zephyr Press), Mira Rosenthal
  • I Can Almost See the Clouds of Dust by Yu Xiang (Zephyr Press), Fiona Sze-Lorrain
  • Paul Klee’s Boat (In the Grip of Strange Thoughts) by Anzhelina Polonskaya (Zephyr Press), Andrew Wachtel
  • Cut These Words Into My Stone: Ancient Greek Epitaphs (Johns Hopkins University Press), Michael Wolfe

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2013.

Judges: Ann Goldstein, Becka McKay, and Katherine Silver

  • Shantytown by César Aira (New Directions), Chris Andrews
  • Twists and Turns in the Heart’s Antarctic by Hélène Cixous (Polity), Beverley Bie Brahic
  • An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman (New York Review Books), Elizabeth & Robert Chandler
  • The Infatuations by Javier Marías (Knopf), Margaret Jull Costa
  • Transit by Anna Seghers (New York Review Books), Margot Bettauer Dembo
  • Kafka: The Years of Insight by Reiner Stach (Princeton University Press), Shelley Frisch
  • The Dinner by Herman Koch (Hogarth), Sam Garrett
  • The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa (Yale University Press), Jeffrey Gray
  • The Emperor’s Tomb by Joseph Roth (New Directions), Michael Hofmann
  • Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (New York Review Books), Joanne Turnbull & Nikolai Formozov


(The following PEN Awards do not have longlists but are listed below to announce the participation of those authors who are judging the awards.)

PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction ($25,000): To a distinguished living American author of fiction.

Judges: E.L. Doctorow, Edwidge Danticat, and Zadie Smith

PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, Founded by Barbara Kingsolver ($25,000): To an author of an unpublished novel that addresses issues of social justice. The prize also includes a publishing contract with Algonquin Books.

Judges: Terry McMillan, Nancy Pearl, Kathy Pories

PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry ($5,000): To a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work to date represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature.

Judges: Peg Boyers, Toi Derricotte, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips

PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards ($7,500 and $2,500): Three awards which honor a Master American Dramatist, American Playwright in Mid-Career, and Emerging American Playwright.

Judges: John Lithgow, Elizabeth Streb, and Maria Tucci

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship ($5,000): To an author of children’s or young-adult fiction, who has published at least two books, to complete a book-length work-in-progress.

Judges: Kathi Appelt, Johanna Hurwitz, and Padma Venkatraman

PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To a writer whose body of work represents an exceptional contribution to the field.

Judges: Kostya Kennedy, David Rosenthal, and John Schulian

PEN/Edward and Lily Tuck Award for Paraguayan Literature ($3,000): To a living author of a major work of Paraguayan literature not yet translated into English.

Judges: Idra Novey, Yvette Siegert, and Mark Statman

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants ($2,000-$4,000): To support the translation of book-length works into English.

Judges: The PEN/Heim Translation Fund Advisory



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