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Literary Awards

Literary Awards


The PEN Literary Awards are the most comprehensive in the United States. Each year, with the help of its partners and supporters, PEN confers more than $150,000 to writers in the fields of fiction, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, drama, or poetry.

» Click here to see the complete archive of winners by year. 

Call for Submissions


for a promising young writer of an unpublished work of nonfiction that addresses a global and/or multicultural issue


for an outstanding work of debut fiction


to preserve the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature


to celebrate writing that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of physical and biological sciences


to an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues


three awards to honor a Grand Master of American Theater, playwright in mid-career, and emerging playwright


for a book-length work by an author of color


for excellence in the art of biography


for a new and emerging American poet with promise of further literary achievement


for an author of a nonfiction book about sports


to a writer for their long-time contributions to the field of literary sports writing

Children's / Young Adult

for an author of an unpublished work of children's or young-adult fiction


for a magazine editor whose high literary standards and taste have, throughout his or her career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits


for a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of his or her work


for a book-length translation of poetry from any language into English


for a distinguished book-length prose translation


to promote the publication and reception of translated world literature in English

Featured Award Winners

All of the cases that my father judged were nearly as...

"Athai, some boys called us Snickers. I don't mind....

It was not enthusiasm for the YWCA that brought the...

He walked into the living room, looking back at me...

After marching for days, King Normous and his armies at...

You are the ruin whose arm encircles the young woman /...

What’s in it for ESPN to support this book? Why would...

We fill pre-existing forms and when we fill them we...

The body took paths through waste-land woods / followed...

He stood about six feet but weighed, at most, 110...

—Is it bitter? Does her soul / tell her / that she was...

If it please the court, I ask that it be stricken from...

Then the moon came in / and hung motionless over the...

There wasn’t a minute to lose. All about them people...

In a labyrinth of blankets in the garage // at seven /...

Writing by Past Winners