2015 PEN Literary Award Winners



PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2014—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

JUDGES: Caroline Fraser, Katie Kitamura, Paul La Farge, and Victor LaValle


The Dog
Jack Livings
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amazon | Indie Bound

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2014 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

JUDGES: Diane Johnson, Dahlia Lithwick, Vijay Seshadri, and Mark Slouka


Theater of Cruelty: Art, Film, and the Shadow of War 
Ian Buruma
(New York Review Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2014.

JUDGES: R. Erica Doyle, W. Ralph Eubanks, and Chinelo Okparanta


Citizen: An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine
(Graywolf Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize ($10,000): For a promising young writer under the age of 35 for an unpublished work of nonfiction that addresses a global and/or multicultural issue.

JUDGES: John Freeman, Roxane Gay, and Cristina Henríquez

WINNER: Adriana E. Ramírez for Dead Boys

Melissa Petro for Unbecoming
Liz Quinn forThe Forgotten Midwives of Guatemala
Krystal Sital for Incantations

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 2014.

JUDGES: Sue Halpern, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Carl Zimmer


War of the Whales: A True Story
Joshua Horwitz
(Simon & Schuster)
Amazon | Indie Bound

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): To an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues which has been published in 2013 or 2014.

JUDGES: Andrew Blechman, Paul Elie, Azadeh Moaveni, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, and Paul Reyes


Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
Sheri Fink
Amazon | Indie Bound

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2014.

JUDGES: Emily Bernard, Nicholas Fox Weber, and Jon Meacham


The Queen's Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth's Court
Anna Whitelock
(Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux )
Amazon | Indie Bound

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2014.

JUDGES: Rich Cohen, George Dohrmann, and Jonathan Mahler


Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard
John Branch
(W. W. Norton & Company)
Amazon | Indie Bound

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2014.

JUDGE: Ana Božičević


I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan
Translated from the Pashto by Eliza Griswold
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amazon | Indie Bound

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2014.

JUDGES: Heather Cleary, Lucas Klein, Tess Lewis, and Allison Markin Powell


Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt
Translated from the Danish by Denise Newman
(Two Lines Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound



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: Kathleen Chalfant, Ellen McLaughlin, and Adam Rapp

Master American Dramatist
WINNER: Tina Howe


Playwright in Mid-Career
WINNER: Anne Washburn


Emerging Playwright
WINNER: Jennifer Blackmer


PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry ($5,000): For an emerging American poet showing promise of further literary achievement.

JUDGES: Marie Howe, Mary Szybist, and Craig Morgan Teicher

WINNER: Saeed Jones for Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press)



PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship ($5,000): For an author of children’s or young-adult fiction to complete a book-length work-in-progress.

JUDGES: Viola Canales, Selene Castrovilla, and Elizabeth Levy

WINNER: Stephanie Kuehn for The Pragmatist (Forthcoming from Dutton/ Penguin Books)


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

JUDGES: Mike Barnicle, Franklin Foer, and Selena Roberts

WINNER: Bob Ryan


PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing ($2,500): For a magazine editor whose high literary taste has, throughout his or her career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits.

JUDGES: Christopher Castellani, Carmela Ciuraru, and Bill Clegg

WINNER: Rob Spillman for Tin House


PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation: For a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of his or her work.

JUDGES: Selected by the PEN Translation Committee

WINNER: Burton Watson


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

JUDGES: Esther Allen, Mitzi Angel, Peter Blackstock, Howard Goldblatt, Sara Khalili, Michael F. Moore*, Declan Spring, and Alex Zucker (*Voting Chair of the PEN/Heim Advisory Board)

WINNERS: Allison Charette, Jennifer Croft, Stephan Delbos, Amanda DeMarco, Adriana Jacobs, Roy Kesey, Lee Klein, Dong Li, Meg Matich, Jacob Moe, Rajiv Mahabir, Takami Nieda, Zoë Perry, Will Schutt, Sophie Seita and Simon Wickham-Smith. 


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