2017 PEN OPEN BOOK AWARD
Helen Oyeyemi, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House)
The PEN Open Book Award, formerly the Beyond Margins Awards, honors a book-length work by an author of color, published in the United States during the current calendar year. The PEN Open Book Award was created by PEN America’s Open Book Committee, a group committed to racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities. The winner receives a $5,000 prize.
From the Judges’ Citation
In What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Helen Oyeyemi brings us beauty and the instability of beauty. This remarkable collection of short stories mimics, questions, rearranges, and transforms whatever we might think real life is. Time and history move in unusual ways here. Geography is not stable and neither are the conventions of story. Thieves become heroines, dying old men become fathers. The collection draws on fairy tales and folklore, reinventing them toward sly social commentary. Eeriness, ambiguity, unrest, the role of chance—all play a part in characters’ lives, jobs, relationships. As it does in ours. These are unsettling stories for an unsettling time. They mirror how life unfolds: unpredictably and strangely, with elision and uncertainty, and create meaning and beauty from the tumult.
Ishmael Beah, born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, is the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier & Radiance of Tomorrow: A Novel. He is currently completing The Lively Skeletons of Every Season, a novel soon to be published by Riverhead. He resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife and children. www.ishmaelbeah.com @IshmaelBeah
Major Jackson is the author of four collections of poetry: Roll Deep, Holding Company, Hoops, and Leaving Saturn, winner of a Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Among his honors is a Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Writers’ Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. He has published poems and essays in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The New Yorker, Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and been included in several volumes of Best American Poetry. Major Jackson is University Distinguished Professor and Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont. He is the poetry editor of the Harvard Review.
Bich Minh Nguyen, who also goes by Beth, is the author of the memoir Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, which received the PEN/Jerard Award, the novel Short Girls, which received an American Book Award, and most recently the novel Pioneer Girl. She teaches in and directs the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco.
Meena Alexander, Luis Francia, Joy Harjo, Victor LaValle, Nelly Rosario, Laila Halaby, Suki Kim, Nasdijj, Willie Perdomo, April Reynolds, Faith Adiele, Raquel Cepeda, Lan Samantha Chang, Lolita Hernandez, Ishle Yi Park, Richard Blanco, Andrew Lam, Ed-Bok Lee, Caryl Phillips, Jennifer Tseng, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ernest Hardy, Harryette Mullen, Alberto Ríos, Chris Abani, Amiri Baraka, Frances Hwang, Naeem Murr, Joseph M. Marshall III, Uwem Akpan, Juan Felipe Herrera, Lily Hoang, Sherwin Bitsui, Robin D.G. Kelley, Canyon Sam, Manu Joseph, Siddhartha Deb, Gina Apostol, Kevin Young, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Nina McConigley, Claudia Rankine, and Rick Barot.
Click here for additional information, including submission guidelines, for the award.