Phillippe Diederich, Finding Home at the End of the World 

The PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship honors an author of children’s or young-adult fiction. It has been developed to help writers whose work is of high literary caliber and is designed to assist a writer at a crucial moment in his or her career to complete a book-length work-in-progress. The winner receives a $5,000 prize and is honored at the PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony. 


From the Judges’ Citation 

One of the essential human stories is the search for home – a place where we are safe, can be ourselves, and flourish. Some are lucky enough to be born into loving, stable families. 13-year-old Angel Suárez, unfortunately, is not one of them. His mother is gone, and his father is abusive. When his father goes a step too far, Angel makes the decision to leave and look for his mother. His journey takes him from southern Mexico to Mexico City to an enormous gang-ruled trash dump called “The End of the World,” where he learns the truth about his past, and ultimately makes an important decision about his future. Phillippe Diederich’s Finding Home at the End of the World is a compelling read featuring a protagonist readers will root for. Its dramatic, clear-eyed narrative, which has strong elements of magical realism, and its focus on a story not often told, makes this a worthy selection for the award.


Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of many verse novels, including The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner, and The Lightning Dreamer, a PEN USA Award winner. Her books have received multiple Pura Belpré, Américas, and Jane Addams Awards and Honors, as well as a Claudia Lewis Poetry Award, and International Reading Association Award. Margarita’s newest historical verse novel is Lion IslandCuba’s Warrior of Words. Margarita lives in central California, where she enjoys helping her husband train his wilderness search and rescue dog.


Sharyn November is an editor of books for children and teenagers. She is responsible for many best-selling and award-winning books, including those by Laurie Halse Anderson, John Barnes, S.E. Grove, Diana Wynne Jones, Susan Juby, Ellen Klages, Kelly Link, and Nnedi Okorafor. She was a two-time World Fantasy Award finalist for her creation of and editorial direction of the Firebird Books imprint. Her website is, and she is on Twitter as @sn0vember.


Polly Shulman is the author of The Grimm Legacy (a Bank Street Best Book and Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Finalist), its companions The Wells Bequest and The Poe Annex, and Enthusiasm (a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice book). She has written for many newspapers and magazines, including the New York TimesDiscoverNewsdaySalonSlateScientific American, and The Village Voice. She majored in math at Yale and grew up in New York City, where she lives in a tall old building guarded by gargoyles.


Past Winners

Graham McNamee, Lori Aurelia Williams, Franny Billingsley, Deborah Wiles, Amanda Jenkins, Barbara Shoup, Diane Les Becquets, Theresa Nelson, Carol Lynch Williams, Pat Schmatz, Lucy Frank, Sarah Dooley, Amy Goldman Koss, Linda Oatman High, Stephanie Kuehn and Ash Parsons.

Click here for additional information, including submission guidelines, for the award.