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The 2018 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists

PEN America is thrilled to announce the 2018 PEN America Literary Awards finalists. Our awards are juried by panels of esteemed, award-winning writers, editors, booksellers, and critics. Learn more about each of the PEN America Literary Awards judges here.

This year’s awards will confer nearly $315,000 to writers and translators whose exceptional literary works were published in 2017 and span fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, essays, science writing, sports writing, translation, and more.

The winners were announced live at the 2018 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 20 at the NYU Skirball Center in NYC.

 

PEN/Jean Stein Book Award ($75,000)

To the author of a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact, and that has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence.

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World)
IndieBound | Amazon

White Tears, Hari Kunzru (Vintage Contemporaries/Knopf)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Changeling, Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau)
IndieBound | Amazon

WHEREAS, Layli Long Soldier (Graywolf Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News, Kevin Young (Graywolf Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000)

To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2017—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise. JUDGES: Mia Alvar, Rion Amilcar Scott, Justin Torres, Claire Vaye Watkins.

Sonora, Hannah Lillith Assadi (Soho Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Black Jesus and Other Superheroes, Venita Blackburn (University of Nebraska Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

History of Wolves, Emily Fridlund (Atlantic Monthly Press)
IndieBound | Amazon


Her Body and Other Parties: Stories, Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Sour Heart, Jenny Zhang (Lenny)
IndieBound | Amazon

 

PEN Open Book Award

To an exceptional book-length work of any genre by an author of color, published in the United States in 2017. JUDGES: Eduardo C. Corral,  Kaitlyn Greenidge, Amy Quan Barry.

My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir, Jessica B. Harris (Scribner)
IndieBound | Amazon

Augustown, Kei Miller (Pantheon)
IndieBound | Amazon

A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa, Alexis Okeowo (Hachette)
IndieBound | Amazon

Lessons on Expulsion: Poems, Erika L. Sánchez (Graywolf Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Ordinary Beast: Poems, Nicole Sealey (Ecco)
IndieBound | Amazon

 

 

PEN Translation Prize

For a book-length translation of prose from any language into English published in 2017. JUDGES: Eric M. B. Becker, Lisa Hayden, Jenny Wang Medina, Denise Newman, Lara Vergnaud.

The Book of Emma Reyes, Emma Reyes (Penguin)
translated from the Spanish by Daniel Alarcón
IndieBound | Amazon

A Horse Walks into a Bar, David Grossman (Vintage)
translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen
IndieBound | Amazon

Out in the Open, Jesús Carrasco (Riverhead Books)
translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
IndieBound | Amazon

The Impossible Fairy Tale, Han Yujoo (Graywolf Press)
translated from the Korean by Janet Hong
IndieBound | Amazon

Katalin Street, Magda Szabó (NYRB Classics)
translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix
IndieBound | Amazon

 

 

 

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000)

For a book of essays published in 2017 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature. JUDGES: Vinson Cunningham, James Fallows, Gillian Tett.

You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages, Carina Chocano (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
IndieBound | Amazon

Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London, Lauren Elkin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
IndieBound | Amazon

Alpine Apprentice: A Memoir, Sarah Gorham (University of Georgia Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, Ursula K. Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
IndieBound | Amazon

Because It Is So Beautiful: Unraveling the Mystique of the American West, Robert Leonard Reid (Counterpoint Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

 

 

 

PEN/Bograd Weld Prize for Biography ($5,000)

For a distinguished biography published in 2017. JUDGES: Joe Jackson, Michelle Legro, Judith Thurman.

Grant, Ron Chernow (Penguin Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Richard Nixon: The Life, John A. Farrell (Doubleday)
IndieBound | Amazon

Chester B. Himes: A Biography, Lawrence P. Jackson (W. W. Norton & Company)
IndieBound | Amazon

You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn, Wendy Lesser (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
IndieBound | Amazon

Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror, Victor Sebestyen (Pantheon)
IndieBound | Amazon

 

 

 

PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing ($10,000)

For a book that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience. JUDGES: Luke Dittrich, Deanna Fei, Dr. Carl Hart.

American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World, David Baron (Liveright)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine, Lindsey Fitzharris (Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
IndieBound | Amazon

Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, David Montgomery (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.)
IndieBound | Amazon

No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America, Ron Powers (Hachette Books)
IndieBound | Amazon

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, Robert Sapolsky (Penguin Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

 

 

 

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000)

To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2017. JUDGES: Chloé Cooper Jones, Sally Jenkins, Joe Nocera.

Ali: A Life, Jonathan Eig (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Arena: Inside the Tailgating, Ticket-Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport, Rafi Kohan (Liveright)
IndieBound | Amazon

Sting Like a Bee: Muhammad Ali vs. the United States of America, 1966–1971, Leigh Montville (Doubleday)
IndieBound | Amazon

City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles, Jerald Podair (Princeton University Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Bones: Brothers, Horses, Cartels, and the Borderland Dream, Joe Tone (One World)
IndieBound | Amazon

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