PEN America Literary Awards PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay

The PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay aims to preserve the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature. The winner receives a $10,000 prize.

All winners and finalists for this award are eligible to receive PEN America’s official winner or finalist seal. If you are a publisher of a shortlisted or winning book for this award and are interested in obtaining PEN’s award seal, please write to

Featured Honoree: Ursula K Le Guin, 2018 Winner

No Time To Spare by Ursula K Le Guin

Ursula K Le Guin

No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Houghton Mifflin Court Ι Indiebound Ι Amazon

Judges: Vinson Cunningham, James Fallows, Gillian Tett



Previous Winners

2018 Ursula K. Le Guin, No Time to Spare (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

2017 Angela Morales, The Girls in My Town (University of New Mexico Press)

2016 Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau/ Random House)

2015 Ian Buruma, Theater of Cruelty: Art, Film, and the Shadows of War (New York Review Books)

2014 James Wolcott, Critical Mass (Doubleday)

2013 Robert Hass, What Light Can Do (Ecco)
Jill Lepore, The Story of America (Princeton University Press)
Daniel Mendelsohn, Waiting for the Barbarians (New York Review Books)

2012 Christopher Hitchens, Arguably (Twelve)
André Aciman, Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere
Robert Gottlieb, Lives and Letters

2011 Mark Slouka, Nick of Time (Graywolf Press)
Elif Batuman, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Alex Ross, Listen to This (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

[The award went on hiatus from 2005-2010]

2004 Stewart Justman, Seeds of Mortality (Floyd Skloot)

2003 William H. Gass, Test of Time (Knopf)

2002 David Bromwich, Skeptical Music (University of Chicago)

2001 David Quammen, The Boilerplate Rhino (Scribner)

2000 Annie Dillard, For the Time Being (Knopf)

1999 Marilynne Robinson, The Death of Adam (Houghton Mifflin)

1998 Adam Hochschild, Finding the Trapdoor (Univ. of Syracuse)

1997 Cynthia Ozick, Fame and Folly (Knopf)

1996 Thomas Nagel, Other Minds (Oxford)

1995 John Brinckerhoff Jackson, A Sense of Place, A Sense of Time (Yale)

1994 Stanley Fish, There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech…And It’s A Good Thing Too (Oxford)

1993 Frederick Crews, The Critics Bear It Away: American Fiction and the Academy (Random House)

1992 David B. Morris, The Culture of Pain (University of California)

1991 Martha Nussbaum, Love’s Knowledge (Oxford)

1990 Bernard Knox, Essays Ancient and Modern (Johns Hopkins)

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