The 2011 Open Book Award went to Manu Joseph for Serious Men (W. W. Norton & Company).

The PEN Open Book Awards were created by PEN American Center’s Open Book Committee, a group committed to racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities. The award confers a $5,000 prize upon an author of color.

2011 Judges

Alexander Chee, Mat Johnson, and Natasha Trethewey

From the Judges’ Citation

“What do microscopic aliens, racist Brahmins, fraudulently gifted children, ill-timed adultery, and the state of the gutter press have in common? Everything, in Manu Joseph’s Serious Men, which seamlessly weaves these and other recondite worlds together through the hearts of a dangerously human cast of characters who are both lifted up and undone by their desire and ambition. But it is not only that Joseph nimbly travels through Dalit slums, arid marriages, and research labs with equal agility. It is the ripe human psyche, both fragile and triumphant, that he illuminates and skewers with equal measure, leading to a brilliantly plotted text of extraordinary humor and depth. Joseph is a new voice and a tremendously skilled one, that rare bird who can wildly entertain the reader as forcefully as he moves them.”


John Murillo for Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher Books)

Past Winners

Manu Joseph