PEN America Literary Awards PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature

Founded in 2016 in collaboration with the Nabokov Foundation, the award is conferred annually to a living author whose body of work, either written in or translated into English, represents the highest level of achievement in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and/or drama, and is of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship. Previous winners include Edna O’Brien and Adonis.



Edna O'Brien, 2018 Honoree

Judges: Diana Abu-Jaber and Michael Ondaatje

From the judges’ citation: “Transcending genres and periods, Edna O’Brien is a master of the page. Drawing out the singular nuances of a town, a character, an interaction, or a gesture, her writing is bold, her voice fearless and compelling. In reading her work, readers are brought to understand what it means to travel imaginatively and bravely, to look clearly and dispassionately upon the spectrum of human emotion.

Emerging from a time and place when women authors were not the norm, O’Brien endured public condemnation, her books were burned and banned. Through it all, her writing remained undaunted, vital, her force unmitigated. Her stories cross oceans, go on the run, risk life and limb, and her readers are swept along on extraordinary journeys.”

Edna O’Brien’s work includes The Country GirlsGirl With Green EyesSaints and Sinners, and, most recently, The Little Red Chairs.


Featured Works

The Country Girls by Edna O'brien


Girl With Green Eyes by Edna O'brien

Saints And Sinners by Edna O'brien

The Little Read Chairs by Edna O'brien




Selection Process

The winner is selected by a panel of judges. There are no outside nominations.

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