The PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction honors an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work—a novel or collection of short stories—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise. The winner receives a cash award of $25,000, a stipend intended to permit a significant degree of leisure in which to pursue a second work of literary fiction.

Finalists

Insurrections
Rion Amilcar Scott
University Press of Kentucky
Amazon | Indie Bound | Excerpt

We Show What We Have Learned
Clare Beams
Lookout Books/UNC Wilmington
Amazon | Indie Bound | Excerpt

The Mothers
Brit Bennett
Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House
Amazon | Indie Bound | Excerpt

Homegoing
Yaa Gyasi
Alfred A Knopf/Penguin Random House
Amazon | Indie Bound | Excerpt

Hurt People
Cote Smith
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Amazon | Indie Bound | Excerpt

Longlist
 

Insurrections
Rion Amilcar Scott
University Press of Kentucky
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

We Show What We Have Learned
Clare Beams
Lookout Books/UNC Wilmington
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Mothers
Brit Bennett
Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Wangs vs. the World
Jade Chang
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Amazon | Indie Bound

When Watched
Leopoldine Core
Penguin Books/Penguin Random House
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Hide
Matthew Griffin
Bloomsbury 
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Homegoing
Yaa Gyasi
Alfred A Knopf/Penguin Random
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Tuesday Nights in 1980
Molly Prentiss
Gallery/Scout Press/Simon & Schuster
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Hurt People
Cote Smith
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

Wreck and Order
Hannah Tennant-Moore
Hogarth/Crown Publishing 
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

Winner

The winner will be announced live at the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on March 27, 2017. 

Judges

Jami Attenberg is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels, including The Middlesteins and Saint Mazie. She has contributed essays about sex, urban life, and food to publications including The New York Times MagazineThe Wall Street JournalThe Guardian, and Lenny Letter. Her sixth book, All Grown Up, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in March 2017.

 

Tanwi Nandini Islam is the author of Bright Lines, a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction. She is a writer, multimedia artist, and founder of Hi Wildflower Botanica, a handcrafted perfume and skincare line. Her writing has appeared on Elle.com, Fashionista.com, and Billboard.com, and in the Feminist WireOpen City, and Hyphen magazine. A graduate of Vassar College and Brooklyn College’s MFA program, she lives in Brooklyn. You can visit her website at www.tanwinandini.com. (Photo credit Scott Dunn)

Randall Kenan is the author of a novel, A Visitation of Spirits, two works of nonfiction, Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century, and The Fire This Time, and a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead.  He edited and wrote the introduction for The Cross of Redemption: The Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin and The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food.  Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Whiting Writers’ Award, the North Carolina Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rome Prize.  He is professor of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Hanna Pylväinen is the author of We Sinners, a novel, which received the 2012 Whiting Writers’ Award. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times, and the New York Times Magazine. She is the recipient of residencies at The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and Princeton University, among others. She is on the faculty of the MFA program at Virginia Commonwealth University, and is working on her second novel, Drum Time.

Akhil Sharma is the author of Family Life (winner of the 2016 Dublin International Literary Prize and the 2015 Folio Prize) and An Obedient Father (winner of the PEN Hemingway Prize). His stories have appeared in The New YorkerThe Atlantic, and been anthologized in Best American Short Stories. (Photo credit Jack Llewellyn-Karski)

 

 

PAST WINNERS

Carolyn Cooke, Matthew Klam, Manil Suri, Jonathan Safran Foer, Will Heinrich, Monique Truong, Christopher Coake, Janna Levin, Dalia Sofer, Donald Ray Pollock, Paul Harding, Danielle Evans, Susanna Daniel, Vanessa Veselka, Sergio De La Pava, Shawn Vestal, and Mia Alvar.

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