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Announcing the 2020 PEN America Literary Awards Longlists

PEN America is thrilled to announce the Longlists for the 2020 PEN America Literary Awards. Our Awards are juried by panels of esteemed, award-winning writers, editors, translators, and critics. You can learn more about this year’s judges here.

This year’s Awards will confer over $330,000 to writers and translators whose exceptional literary works were published in 2019. Spanning fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, essay, science writing, translation, and more, these longlisted books are dynamic, diverse, and thought-provoking examples of literary excellence. 

Finalists for all Book Awards, including the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and our Career Achievement Awards, will be announced in January 2020. 

The Winners will be celebrated live at the 2020 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on March 2 at the Town Hall in New York City and hosted by Seth Meyers.  

PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT SHORT STORY COLLECTION ($25,000)

To an author whose debut collection of short stories represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise for future work.

Judges: Aimee Bender, Jamel Brinkley, Samantha Hunt, Randa Jarrar, Elissa Schappell

Spider Love Song and Other Stories, Nancy Au (Acre Books)
IndieBound | Hudson

Avery Colt is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar, Ron A. Austin  (Southeast Missouri State University Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Trojan War Museum, Ayşe Papatya Bucak (W. W. Norton & Company)
IndieBound | Hudson

Sabrina & Corina, Kali Fajardo-Anstine (One World)
IndieBound | Hudson

Last of Her Name, Mimi Lok (Kaya Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

Not Dead Yet and Other Stories, Hadley Moore (Autumn House Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Beadworkers, Beth Piatote (Counterpoint Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Rapture Index: A Suburban Bestiary, Molly Reid (BOA Editions)
IndieBound | Hudson

Home Remedies, Xuan Juliana Wang (Hogarth)
IndieBound | Hudson

Lot, Bryan Washington (Riverhead Books)
IndieBound | Hudson

PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FOR DEBUT NOVEL ($25,000)

To a debut novel of exceptional literary merit by an American author.

Judges: R.O. Kwon, Terese Marie Mailhot, David L. Ulin

The Gone Dead, Chanelle Benz (Ecco)
IndieBound | Hudson

Stay and Fight, Madeline ffitch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
IndieBound | Hudson

Reinhardt’s Garden, Mark Haber (Coffee House Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

99 Nights in Logar, Jamil Jan Kochai (Viking)
IndieBound | Hudson

Big Familia, Tomas Moniz (Acre Books)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Travelers, Regina Porter (Hogarth)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Affairs of the Falcóns, Melissa Rivero (Ecco)
IndieBound | Hudson

A Prayer for Travelers, Ruchika Tomar (Riverhead Books)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Far Field, Madhuri Vijay (Grove Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Ocean Vuong (Penguin Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

PEN OPEN BOOK AWARD ($5,000)

To an exceptional book-length work of any genre by an author of color.

Judges: Ali Eteraz, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Dawn Lundy Martin, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Camille Rankine, Héctor Tobar

The 44th of July, Jaswinder Bolina (Omnidawn)
IndieBound | Hudson

King of Joy, Richard Chiem (Soft Skull Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

My Time Among the Whites, Jennine Capó Crucet (Picador)
IndieBound | Hudson

Build Yourself a Boat, Camonghne Felix (Haymarket Books)
IndieBound | Hudson

Be Recorder, Carmen Giménez Smith (Graywolf Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

Good Talk, Mira Jacob (One World)
IndieBound | Hudson

Erou, Maya Phillips (Four Way Books)
IndieBound | Hudson

while they sleep (under the bed is another country), Raquel Salas Rivera (Birds, LLC)
IndieBound | Hudson

We Cast a Shadow, Maurice Carlos Ruffin (One World)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Grave on the Wall, Brandon Shimoda (City Lights Books)
IndieBound | Hudson

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000)

For a book-length translation of prose from any language into English.

Judges: Sean Gasper Bye, Jim Hicks, Geoffrey C. Howes, Sara Khalili, Elizabeth Lowe, Jenny McPhee

When Death Takes Something From You Give It Back: Carl’s Book, Naja Marie Aidt (Coffee House Press)
Translated from the Danish by Denise Newman
IndieBoundHudson

If You Cross the River: A Novel, Geneviève Damas (Milkweed Editions)
Translated from the French by Jody Gladding
IndieBound | Hudson

Happiness, as Such, Natalia Ginzburg (New Directions Publishing)
Translated from the Italian by Minna Zallman Proctor
IndieBoundHudson

The Ten Loves of Nishino, Hiromi Kawakami (Europa Editions) 
Translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell
IndieBound | Hudson

Beyond Babylon, Igiaba Scego (Two Lines Press)
Translated from the Italian by Aaron Robertson
IndieBound | Hudson

The Dead Wander in the Desert, Rollan Seisenbayev (Amazon Crossing)
Translated from the Russian by Olga Nakston and John Farndon
IndieBound | Hudson

Flowers of Mold & Other Stories, Ha Seong-nan (Open Letter Books)
Translated from the Korean by Janet Hong
IndieBound | Hudson

At Dusk, Hwang Sok-yong (Scribe US) 
Translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell
IndieBound | Hudson

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel, Olga Tokarczuk (Riverhead Books)
Translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
IndieBound | Hudson

The Scent of Buenos Aires: Stories, Hebe Uhart (Archipelago Books)
Translated from the Spanish by Maureen Shaughnessy
IndieBound | Hudson

PEN AWARD FOR POETRY IN TRANSLATION ($3,000)

For a book-length translation of poetry from any language into English.

Judges: Michael Eskin, Forrest Gander, Pierre Joris

Time, Etel Adnan (Nightboat Books)
Translated from the French by Sarah Riggs
IndieBound | Hudson

Final Matters: Selected Poems, 2004-2010, Szilárd Borbély (Princeton University Press)
Translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet
IndieBound | Hudson

Poems in Absentia & Poems from The Island and the World, Pedro da Silveira (Tagus Press)
Translated from the Portuguese by George Monteiro
IndieBound | Hudson

Treasure of the Castilian or Spanish Language, Sebastián de Covarrubias Horozco (New Directions Publishing)
Translated from the Spanish by Janet Hendrickson
IndieBound | Hudson

Room in Rome, Jorge Eduardo Eielson (Cardboard House Press)
Translated from the Spanish by David Shook
IndieBound | Hudson

Daybook 1918: Early Fragments, J.V. Foix (Northwestern University Press)
Translated from the Catalan by Lawrence Venuti
IndieBound | Hudson

Killing Plato, Chantal Maillard (New Directions Publishing)
Translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert
IndieBound | Hudson

The Winter Garden Photograph, Reina María Rodríguez (Ugly Duckling Presse)
Translated from the Spanish by Kristin Dykstra and Nancy Gates Madsen
IndieBound | Hudson

Songs from a Single Eye, Oswald von Wolkenstein (New Directions Publishing)
Translated from the German by Richard Sieburth
IndieBound | Hudson

What We Live For, What We Die For: Selected Poems, Serhiy Zhadan (Yale University Press)
Translated from the Ukrainian by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps
IndieBound | Hudson

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

For a collection of essays which exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

Judges: Jelani Cobb, Daniel Menaker, Judith Thurman

Anxious Attachments, Beth Alvarado (Autumn House Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

I Used to Be Charming: The Rest of Eve Babitz, Eve Babitz (New York Review Books Classics)
IndieBound | Hudson

Essays One, Lydia Davis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
IndieBound | Hudson

Resurrection of the Wild: Meditations on Ohio’s Natural Landscape, Deborah Fleming (Kent State University Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays, Leslie Jamison (Little, Brown and Company)
IndieBound | Hudson

Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones, Daniel Mendelsohn (New York Review Books)
IndieBound | Hudson

I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution, Emily Nussbaum (Random House)
IndieBound | Hudson

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, Jia Tolentino (Random House)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays, Esmé Weijun Wang (Graywolf Press)
IndieBoundHudson

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays, Damon Young (Ecco)
IndieBound | Hudson

PEN/JACQUELINE BOGRAD WELD AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY ($5,000)

For a distinguished biography of exceptional literary, narrative, and artistic merit, based on scrupulous research.

Judges: David W. Blight, Yunte Huang, Miriam Pawel, Rebecca Walker, Shawn Wen

Oliver Wendell Holmes: A Life in War, Law, and Ideas, Stephen Budiansky (W. W. Norton & Company)
IndieBound | Hudson

Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America, Jacquelyn Dowd Hall (W. W. Norton & Company)
IndieBound | Hudson

Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures, Adina Hoffman (Yale University Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth, Josh Levin (Little, Brown and  Company)
IndieBoundHudson

The Lost Prince: A Search for Pat Conroy, Michael Mewshaw (Counterpoint Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

Sontag: Her Life and Work, Benjamin Moser (Ecco)
IndieBoundHudson

Feast of Ashes: The Life and Art of David Ohannessian, Sato Moughalian (Stanford University Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II, Sonia Purnell (Viking)
IndieBound | Hudson

Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer and His Restless Drive to Save the West, John Taliaferro (Liveright)
IndieBound | Hudson

Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution, Helen Zia (Ballantine Books)
IndieBound | Hudson

PEN/E.O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD ($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: Diane Ackerman, Rivka Galchen, Priyamvada Natarajan

The Body: A Guide for Occupants, Bill Bryson (Doubleday)
IndieBound | Hudson

Conscience: The Origins of Moral Intuition, Patricia S. Churchland (W. W. Norton & Company)
IndieBound | Hudson

Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves, Frans de Waal (W. W. Norton & Company)
IndieBound | Hudson

Rethinking Consciousness: A Scientific Theory of Subjective Experience, Michael S. A. Graziano (W. W. Norton & Company)
IndieBound | Hudson

On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galapagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden, Elizabeth Hennessy (Yale University Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption, Dahr Jamail (New Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains, Joseph LeDoux (Viking)
IndieBound | Hudson

Hot Carbon: Carbon 14 and a Revolution in Science, John F. Marra (Columbia University Press)
IndieBound | Hudson

Losing Earth: A Recent History, Nathaniel Rich (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
IndieBound | Hudson

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, David Wallace-Wells (Tim Duggan Books)
IndieBound | Hudson

 


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