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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 an outstanding work of debut fiction


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


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


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


for a promising young writer of an unpublished work of nonfiction that addresses a global and/or multicultural issue


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


to a writer for a lifetime of writing about sports and its dimensions of character and action


for an author of a nonfiction book about sports

Children's / Young Adult

for an author of an unpublished work of children's or young-adult fiction


for a distinguished book-length prose translation


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


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


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

Featured Award Winners

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On a long-forgotten Sunday during the middle of the...

The pencil that was always in her hand when she began a...

All day / I hear the fallen, trampled leaves groaning...

Though no one was paying attention, she smoothed her...

The balance of humor and horror in Venturini's The...

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

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

The novel that propelled Aurora Venturini to literary...

Writing by Past Winners