Bob Ryan 

The PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing, which was conferred for the first time in the fall of 2011, is given to one living American or U.S.-based writer each year to celebrate their body of work and long-time contributions to the field of literary sports writing.

From the Judges’ Citation

For almost 50 years, Bob Ryan inhabited the undulating emotions and demanding soul of Boston fans with a swift stream of prose that reflected passion underpinned by keen reporting. He was called The Commissioner. He carried immense influence, but not a drop of arrogance. As young writers crossed the press box threshold – breaking gender and race barriers – they found an eager mentor and friend on the other side in Ryan. He had a joy for the job as a classic sportswriter who could skillfully bang the drum or play taps depending on the state of the home team. His byline in The Boston Globe meant readers had a seat at the game for the NBA Finals, Super Bowl or summer night at Fenway. His insight meant they had a human connection to Bird, Brady and an end to The Curse. As Ryan’s voice grew on a national scale, his opinions flowed fast but he had the grace to evolve and advocate as sports tilled through social turf across five decades. He has always been there, for colleagues, for readers, to reflect in his own distinct style the games of our lives.”

2015 Judges

Mike Barnicle is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist, and social and political commentator. He is a regular contributor on MSNBC’s popular Morning Joe program, and often comments on television and in print about the news of the day. Mike Barnicle has written more than 4,000 newspaper columns, and continues to write for TIME magazine, Newsweek / The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, ESPN The Magazine, Grantland, Politico, Esquire, and many others. A graduate of Boston University, Barnicle resides in suburban Boston with his family.

Franklin Foer is an American journalist and former editor of The New Republic. He is a 2012 Bernard L. Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation. Before joining The New Republic, Foer was a frequent contributor to the online magazine Slate. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Spin, U.S. News & World Report, Lingua Franca, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, and more. In 2004 he published his first book, How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization which was followed by How Football Explains the World. Foer also coedited the book Jewish Jocks.

Selena Roberts spent 25 years in corporate media covering the most important sports stories and athletes of our time. In four years at Sports Illustrated, she wrote commentaries that were cited by the American Society of Magazine Editors and appeared in The Best American Sports Writing and The Best American Magazine Writing. From 1996 to 2007, Selena was a sports reporter for The New York Times and was honored by the APSE and Arthur Ashe Foundation for her work as a beat writer and columnist for pieces that illuminated the paradox of sport’s ability to hurt and heal.

Past winners 

Roger Angell, Dan Jenkins, Frank Deford, and Dave Anderson.

Click here for addtional information on the award.