2016 PEN Literary Awards Longlists

PEN is thrilled to announce the longlists for the 2016 PEN Literary Awards. Over the last four days, Literary Hub has helped us showcase eighty titles that have been selected by the judges for PEN's eight book awards. Learn more about each of the judges here.

This year's awards will confer over $200,000 to some of the best writers and translators published this year. Spanning fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, essays, translation, and more, these longlisted books are bound to help you fulfill your gift giving needs in time for the holidays.

The finalists for all book awards will be announced on February 2. The winners for all 2016 awards will be announced on March 1, except those for the awards for Debut Fiction, Art of the Essay, Open Book, Literary Science Writing, and the PEN/Fusion Prize, which will be named live at the 2016 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on April 11 at The New School in NYC.

2016 PEN LITERARY AWARDS LONGLISTS

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 2015—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

JUDGES: Helon Habila, Elizabeth McCracken, Edie Meidav, and Jess Row

LONGLIST:

In the Country: Stories
Mia Alvar
Alfred A. Knopf
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Boatmaker
John Benditt
Tin House Books
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Did You Ever Have A Family
Bill Clegg
Gallery/Scout Press/Simon & Schuster
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Hausfrau: A Novel
Jill Alexander Essbaum
Random House
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Turner House
Angela Flournoy
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Mr. and Mrs. Doctor
Julie Iromuanya
Coffee House Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Sympathizer: A Novel
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Grove Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Given World: A Novel
Marian Palaia
Simon & Schuster
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

It Had Been Planned and There Were Guides
Jessica Lee Richardson
Fiction Collective Two/University of Alabama Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness
Jennifer Tseng
Europa Editions
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2015 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

JUDGES: Verlyn Klinkenborg, Meghan O’Rourke, and Luc Sante

LONGLIST:

After the Tall Timber: Collected Non-Fiction 
Renata Adler
New York Review Books
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

This Old Man: All in Pieces
Roger Angell
Doubleday
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Our Only World: Ten Essays
Wendell Berry
Counterpoint
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Spiegel & Grau/Random House
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Quarry
Susan Howe
New Directions
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader
Linda Nochlin
Thames & Hudson
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Givenness of Things: Essays
Marilynne Robinson
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Reporting Always: Writings from The New Yorker
Lillian Ross
Scribner/Simon & Schuster
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Life of Images: Selected Prose
Charles Simic
Ecco/HarperCollins
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles
David L. Ulin
University of California Press
Amazon | Indie Bound


 

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 2015.

JUDGES: Joshua Foer, Virginia Hughes, and Sonia Shah

LONGLIST:

The Man Who Wasn't There: Investigations Into the Strange New Science of the Self
Anil Ananthaswamy
Dutton Books/Penguin Random House
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History
Cynthia Barnett
The Crown Publishing 
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Black Hole: How an Idea Abandoned by Newtonians, Hated by Einstein, and Gambled On by Hawking Became Loved
Marcia Bartusiak
Yale University Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World
Joel K. Bourne Jr.
W. W. Norton & Company
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star
Tom Clynes
Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults
Frances E. Jensen, M.D. with Amy Ellis Nutt
Harper Books
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry
Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD with Ogi Ogas
Little Brown and Company
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Spooky Action at a Distance: The Phenomenon That Reimagines Space and Time—and What It Means for Black Holes, the Big Bang, and Theories of Everything
George Musser
Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Amazon | Indie Bound

Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future
Lauren Redniss
Random House
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Changed the World
Alexandra Witze and Jeff Kanipe
Pegasus Books
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2015.

JUDGES: David Epstein, Ann Killion, and Dave Zirin

LONGLIST:

Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson
Kent Babb
Atria Books/Simon & Schuster
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Domino Diaries: My Decade Boxing with Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway's Ghost in the Last Days of Castro's Cuba
Brin-Jonathan Butler
Picador
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui's Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory
Julie Checkoway
Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Secret Game: A Wartime Story of Courage, Change, and Basketball's Lost Triumph
Scott Ellsworth
Little, Brown and Company/Hachette Book Group
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers' Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse
Molly Knight
Simon & Schuster
Amazon | Indie Bound

Concussion
Jeanne Marie Laskas
Random House
Amazon | Indie Bound

Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty
Charles Leerhsen
Simon & Schuster
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Molina: The Story of the Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty
Bengie Molina with Joan Ryan
Simon & Schuster 
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Sports and Labor in the United States
Michael Schiavone
SUNY Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Grind: Inside Baseball's Endless Season
Barry Svrluga
Blue Rider Press
Amazon | Indie Bound 
 

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2015.

JUDGES: Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Celeste Ng, and Héctor Tobar

LONGLIST:

Chord
Rick Barot
Sarabande Books
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Bastards of the Reagan Era
Reginald Dwayne Betts
Four Way Books
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Forest Primeval: Poems
Vievee Francis
Triquarterly Books/Northwestern
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time: Poems
Angela Jackson
Triquarterly Books/Northwestern
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

God Loves Haiti: A Novel
Dimitry Elias Léger
Amistad/HarperCollins Publishers
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey
Marie Mutsuki Mockett
W. W. Norton & Company
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Pink Box: Poems
Yesenia Montilla
Aquarius Press/Willow Books
Amazon
 

The Blind Writer: Stories and a Novella
Sameer Pandya
University Of Hawai'i Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Heaven: Poems
Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape
Lauret Savoy
Counterpoint
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2015.

JUDGES: Nell Irvin Painter, Deborah Solomon, and Simon Winchester

LONGLIST:

In Search of Sir Thomas Browne: The Life and Afterlife of the Seventeenth Century's Most Inquiring Mind
Hugh Aldersey-Williams
W. W. Norton & Company
Amazon | Indie Bound

Joan of Arc: A History
Helen Castor
Harper Books
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Sinatra: The Chairman
James Kaplan
Doubleday
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects
Deborah Lutz
W. W. Norton & Company
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press
James McGrath Morris
Amistad/HarperCollins Publishers
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art
Nancy Princenthal
Thames & Hudson
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Eqbal Ahmad: Critical Outsider in a Turbulent Age
Stuart Schaar
Columbia University Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

John le Carré: The Biography
Adam Sisman
Harper Books
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Michelle Obama: A Life
Peter Slevin
Alfred A. Knopf
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva
Rosemary Sullivan
Harper Books
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2015.

JUDGES:  Elisabeth Jaquette, Aviya Kushner, Ronald Meyer, Sara Nović, and Jeffrey Zuckerman

LONGLIST:

The Sound of Our Steps by Ronit Matalon
Translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu
Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector
Translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson
New Directions
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Blizzard by Vladimir Sorokin
Translated from the Russian by Jamey Gambrell
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah
Translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell
AmazonCrossing 
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Game for Real by Richard Weiner
Translated from the Czech by Benjamin Paloff
Two Lines Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Sphinx by Anne Garréta
Translated from the French by Emma Ramadan
Deep Vellum Publishing
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Translated from the Russian by Oliver Ready
Penguin Classics
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov
Translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
Open Letter Books
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Hollow Heart by Viola Di Grado
Translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar
Europa Editions
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

Paris Nocturne by Patrick Modiano
Translated from the French by Phoebe Weston-Evans
Yale University Press/Margellos World Republic of Letters
Amazon | Indie Bound


 

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2015.

JUDGE: Urayoán Noel

LONGLIST:

The Country of Planks by Raúl Zurita
Translated from the Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky
Action Books
Amazon | Indie Bound

Oxen Rage by Juan Gelman
Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Rose Bradford
co-im-press
Amazon

The School of Solitude: Collected Poems by Luis Hernández
Translated from the Spanish by Anthony Geist
Swan Isle Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Late Poems of Wang An-shih
Translated from the Chinese by David Hinton
New Directions
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Twelve Stations by Tomasz Różycki
Translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston
Zephyr Press
Amazon | Indie Bound

Rilke Shake by Angélica Freitas
Translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan
Phoneme Media
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky
Translated from the Russian by Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev
Cleveland State University Poetry Center
Amazon
 

The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa
Translated from the Japanese by Sawako Nakayasu
Canarium Books
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Silvina Ocampo
Translated from the Spanish by Jason Weiss
New York Review Books Poets
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Uyghurland, the Furthest Exile by Ahmatjan Osman
Translated from the Uyghur and Arabic by Jeffrey Yang with the author
Phoneme Media
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

2016 CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

(The following PEN Awards do not have longlists nor shortlists. The winners will be announced on March 1 along with all of the winners for the above book awards.)

PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction ($25,000): To a distinguished living American author of fiction.

JUDGES: Louise Erdrich, Dinaw Mengestu, and Francine Prose

 

PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, Founded by Barbara Kingsolver ($25,000): To an author of an unpublished novel that addresses issues of social justice. The prize also includes a publishing contract with Algonquin Books.

JUDGES: Laila Lalami, Kathy Pories, and Brando Skyhorse

 

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: Marie Arana, Manuel Gonzales, and Johnny Temple

 

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: Annie Baker, Kirsten Greenidge, and Tracy Letts

 

PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry ($5,000): To a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work to date represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature.

JUDGES: Catherine Barnett, Jericho Brown, and Tina Chang

 

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: Emily Arnold McCully, Katherine Paterson, and Jason Reynolds

 

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: Senator William W. Bradley, Sally Jenkins, and Dave Kindred

 

PEN/Edward and Lily Tuck Award for Paraguayan Literature ($3,000): To a living author of a major work of Paraguayan literature not yet translated into English.

JUDGES: Ezra E. Fitz, Amalia Gladhart, and Mark Weiss

 

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

JUDGES: Esther Allen, Peter Blackstock, Sara Khalili, Tynan Kogane, Allison Markin Powell, Antonio Romani, Chip Rossetti, and Alex Zucker

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