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[VIRTUAL] 2021 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony

The 2021 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony honors and celebrates remarkable literature, along with the writers, translators, editors, and publishers who helped these stories come to life. Dubbed by past host Seth Meyers as “the Oscars for books,” the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony will confer over $380,000 to writers and translators at all stages of their careers.

We are pleased to invite all members of the literary community and general public to join for the live announcement of our book awards winners, selected from a list of 55 finalist books featuring outstanding voices in translation, fiction, poetry, science writing, essay, biography, drama, and more. To learn more about our finalists, please read our announcement via The Paris Review.

The ceremony will additionally include the presentation of PEN America’s career achievement awards, celebrating the work of Anne Carson, Kwame Dawes, Daniel Alexander Jones, Pierre Joris, and George C. Wolfe, with special guest presenters Lydia Davis, Jeremy O. Harris, Laurie Anderson, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson, among others. The evening’s virtual celebrations will be hosted by Harlem-born and raised actor and off-Broadway phenomenon Kara Young.

This year’s ceremony celebrates literary icons and the brightest stars in contemporary literature, but also the creativity, resilience, power, and beauty demonstrated by so many in the literary community. In the wake of the struggles of the past year, PEN America is proud to support and uplift the literary voices that have been critical in helping us persevere through these troubling times. The writers we will recognize are revolutionaries, icons, and masters of their craft. We hope you’ll join us for a night of literary celebration, to recognize the necessity of the human stories these writers tell.

To learn more about our judges who make our program possible, please visit our Meet the Judges webpage.

The 2021 PEN America Literary Awards Program and Ceremony recognizes the generous signature sponsorship from the JKW Foundation, in memory of Jean Stein and her extraordinary contributions to literature.

We are pleased to invite all members of the literary community and general public to join. When reserving a ticket, please consider making a donation to directly support writers through the Literary Awards Program. Suggested donation: $15–$100.

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