2022 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony

The 2022 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony returns to New York City’s Town Hall to celebrate exceptional voices in literature, from debut authors to living legends. Hosted by writer and Emmy Award-winning late night host Seth Meyers—an “influential recommender of books” (The New York Times), the Ceremony will feature captivating winner announcements, musical direction by Ulysses Owens, Jr., and performances by Broadway’s Jenn Colella, Bobby Conte, and Kyle Taylor Parker and dramatic readings from selected works, in a celebration of this year’s most resonant literature.

This year, PEN America will present 11 book awards recognizing the finest works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, essay, science writing, translation, and more published in 2021.

Actress Candice Bergen will present the 2022 PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award to Elaine May in recognition of her unparalleled contributions to American film, television, and comedy. Writer and activist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o will receive the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature, and the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award will be presented to playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury by Lileana Blaine-Cruz and Sarah Benson. Quincy Tyler Bernstine will perform scenes from Drury’s Marys Seacole.

For over five decades, PEN America’s Literary Awards Ceremony has honored the creators and the works that shape our culture. This year, PEN America will confer $350,000 to writers and translators. Learn more about the 2022 Literary Awards Judges and view the 2022 Finalists.

Join us for an evening of writers celebrating writers, in what host Seth Meyers has called “the Oscars for books.”

The 2022 PEN America Literary Awards Program and Ceremony recognize the generous signature sponsorship from the JKW Foundation, in memory of Jean Stein and her extraordinary contributions to literature.

Cocktail attire.


Available ticket prices (plus fees):

$15 Student | Balcony seating

$25 Friends | Balcony seating

$40 Supporter | Orchestra and Loge seating

$60 Patron | Orchestra Premium seating

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Ticket sales both guarantee seats for those who want to join, and help us to present this extraordinary evening of celebration. All proceeds from ticket sales will support our Literary Awards, Grants, and Fellowships Programs, which provide vital recognition and transformative support to writers at all stages of their careers.

COVID-19 Protocol

We are closely monitoring our protocols alongside certified COVID Safety Officers working in New York live event venues including on Broadway, and in accordance with all state and local guidelines. These protocols are subject to adjustment in accordance with new advisories.

Per current mandatory health requirements from the City of New York, all attendees must present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination and ID in order to enter the venue and attend the show. In attending the event, you certify and attest that you and all individuals in your party attending the event will abide by the following regulations:

  • All individuals will be required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (fully vaccinated) and ID prior to entering the venue. These regulations will apply to all members of your party before they are allowed entry to the event and to any users of the tickets purchased by you.
  • Masks are required for all guests, all guests must wear a properly fitting mask over the nose and mouth in the theater. We encourage wearing N95, KN95, or KF94 masks. There will be no eating or drinking allowed inside the theater, and your mask must remain over your nose and mouth at all times. 
  • “Fully vaccinated” means that prior to the awards date, it must be at least 14 days after your second dose of an FDA or WHO-approved two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, or at least 14 days after your single dose of an FDA or WHO-approved single dose COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage all attendees to receive a booster shot, as well. Together with the proof of vaccination, all guests must present a government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport.

Town Hall is deeply committed to the health and safety of audiences, performers, and staff. Among many enhancements, they have now upgraded their auditorium ventilation systems with MERV 13 filters, created a contactless experience for guests entering the theater, and established rigorous cleaning and sanitation protocols.


Seth Meyers headshot

Photo credit: Lloyd Bishop/NBC

Seth Meyers is an Emmy Award-winning writer and host of NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

Meyers hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2014 and was Emmy nominated in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. In 2018, he hosted the Golden Globe Awards, which was Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Variety Special.

In 2019, he released his debut standup special, “Lobby Baby,” on Netflix, which was Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special. In 2021, he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Short Form Comedy, Drama or Variety Series for his weekly “Late Night” YouTube series, “Corrections,” which debuted in the same year.

“Late Night” won back-to-back Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Talk Show in 2020-21. In addition, Meyers was named one of the 2014 TIME 100, Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Meyers began his TV career with “Saturday Night Live” in 2001, where he was a cast member for 13 seasons. He served as head writer for nine seasons and “Weekend Update” anchor for eight. In 2011, Meyers won the Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for host Justin Timberlake’s musical monologue. In all, Meyers has garnered 27 Emmy nominations for his work in television.

Meyers currently serves as an executive producer of “The Amber Ruffin Show” on Peacock, and as co-creator and executive producer alongside Fred Armisen and Bill Hader of IFC’s Emmy-nominated docu-parody series “Documentary Now!” He executive produced and lent his voice to Hulu’s animated superhero show “The Awesomes” and executive produced “A.P. Bio” for NBC and Peacock.

Meyers hosted the 2010 and 2011 ESPY Awards on ESPN and headlined the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Assn. dinner to rave reviews.

His first children’s book, I’m Not Scared, You’re Scared, will be released March 15, 2022.  


headshot of Quincy Tyler BernsteinQuincy Tyler Bernstine is known for her performances both on stage and on screen. Her theater credits include Marys Seacole, (Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play, 2019 OBIE for Sustained Excellence in Performance); Our Lady of 121st Street (Lucille Lortel nomination); The Amateurs (Lucille Lortel nomination); As You Like It (Lucille Lortel nomination); Grand Concourse (Lucille Lortel nomination); and Ruined (2009 OBIE for Performance, Clarence Derwent, Audelco Awards). She is also the recipient of the Joan Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity (Lincoln Center, 2019); 2015 Lilly Award, and the Charles Bowden Actor Award from New Dramatists. On television, Bernstine has appeared in Power, Power Book II: GHOST, Ray Donovan, The Code, and Modern Love, among others. Among her film credits are The Tender Bar, White Noise, Manchester By The Sea, Easy Living, and Rachel Getting Married. In 2019, she was profiled in the New York Times by Laura Collins-Hughes, under the headline “The Part Seems Impossible? Hire Her.”

headshot for Jenn ColellaJenn Colella recently starred in the Tony Award-winning smash hit musical Come From Away as ‘Beverley/Annette and others,’ in a performance that garnered her 2017 Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards and a 2017 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, as well as Craig Noel, Helen Hayes and Dora Awards for pre-Broadway productions of Come From Away. Jenn won a Grammy Award for her work on the Dear Evan Hansen cast recording. She has been previously seen on Broadway in If/Then, Chaplin, High Fidelity and Urban Cowboy (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination), Off-Broadway in Beebo Brinker Chronicles, Lucky Guy, Slut and Closer Than Ever. Jenn’s select regional credits include Come From Away (La Jolla Playhouse, Ford’s Theatre, Toronto), Peter Pan (Sacramento Music Circus & PCLO) and Side Show (Kennedy Center). TV credits include “Feed the Beast,” “Elementary,” “All My Children,” “Rescue Me,” “The Good Wife,” “The Code,”  “Madam Secretary,” and “Evil.”  She has been seen on film in Uncertainty with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and stars in the live capture film of Come From Away on Apple Plus, streaming now. Jenn Colella is an MFA Acting graduate of UC Irvine.

headshot of Bobby ConteBobby Conte currently stars in the acclaimed Broadway revival of George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’s Company. He made his Broadway debut originating the role of Calogero in A Bronx Tale directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks. Other New York Theater: My Fair Lady (Bay Street Theater); Starting Here, Starting Now (York Theatre Company). Regional: Last Days of Summer (George Street Playhouse); all-male A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Two River Theater); the world premiere of Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors (McCarter Theatre Center/Cleveland Play House); three seasons at The Muny, including the regional premiere of Jersey Boys and a revised adaptation of Lerner & Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon. Film/TV: If Beale Street Could Talk (directed by Barry Jenkins); “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix); “Madam Secretary,” “The Code” (CBS). His debut studio album Along the Way is available across all digital music providers. Training: BFA, University of  Michigan; Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

headshot of Ulysses Owen JrUlysses Owens, Jr. is heralded as a “powerhouse of a showman” (Glide Magazine), a “legitimate jazz triple threat” (Critical Jazz) and a drummer who “take[s] a back seat to no one” (The New York Times), performer, producer and educator Ulysses Owens Jr. goes the limit in the jazz world and beyond. He is a recipient of a 2013 ASCAP Plus Award, 2014 Global Music Award and a 2015 Jazz at Lincoln Center Swing! Award. With four successful albums of his own (It’s Time for U, Unanimous, Onward and Upward, and Falling Forward) Owens has also gained special attention for his performances on the Grammy award-winning albums Dedicated to You (Kurt Elling) The Good Feeling (Christian McBride Big Band.) As an author Ulysses has penned multiple articles for publication and published a Hallmark Drum instructional book titled Jazz Brushes for the Modern Drummer: An Essential Guide to the Art of Keeping Time. His second book is The Musicians Career Guide: Turning Your Talent into Sustained Success. In addition to his work as an author and musician, Ulysses serves on the Faculty at The Juilliard School, serves as the Artistic Educator in Residence at Savannah Music Festival. His passion project is his role as the Artistic Director for his family’s non-profit organization, “Don’t Miss A Beat,” in Jacksonville, Florida that utilizes the arts as a bridge to a better life for “At-Hope” students.

headshot of Kyle Taylor ParkerKyle Taylor Parker has been wowing audiences on Broadway for years with his dynamic presence, mega-watt smile, and a vocal tone that’s both rich and bright. Kyle  made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning smash hit musical, Kinky Boots in the role of “Angel.” He later earned rave reviews across the country by originating the role of “Lola” in the musical’s first national tour (IRNE Award “Best Visiting Actor in a Musical”) before returning to Broadway to replace Billy Porter in 2015. He was in the original casts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway, Smokey Joe’s Café (Chita Award) and Finnian’s Rainbow Off-Broadway, the world premiere of My Very Own British Invasion, and Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE in Concert on NBC. A fan of musical theater since childhood, Kyle grew up in Wisconsin listening to both Broadway cast albums and Motown records – a combination that inspired him to make his solo recording debut with the release of “Broadway Soul, Vol. 1” on the Broadway Records label in 2019, followed by Vol. 2 in 2021. Previously, Kyle performed on a track for “Wish: The Anderson & Petty Holiday Album” (Barry Anderson and Mark Petty) and is currently playing Happy Man/Mr. Thompson on the First National Tour of Pretty Woman The Musical.