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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


to a distinguished living American author of fiction


awarded to a writer of fiction that addresses issues of social justice


for an outstanding work of debut fiction


for a promising young writer of an unpublished work of nonfiction that addresses a global and/or multicultural issue


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


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


to a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work to date represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature


for an author of a nonfiction book about sports


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


for excellence in the art of biography


for a book-length work by an author of color

Children's / Young Adult

for an author of an unpublished work of children's or young-adult fiction


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


for a distinguished book-length prose translation


to a living author of a major work of Paraguayan literature


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

Featured Award Winners

You tell your neighbor that your friend, whom he has...

Since the crackdown he’d been living like a man in a...

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...

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