PEN America will only accept submissions from publishers or literary agents. Authors may not submit their own book for this award. Book submissions will not be considered unless officially submitted via the online form AND received at the PEN America New York office with the corresponding Declaration of Eligibility.

The PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award celebrates writing that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience. The winner receives a cash award of $10,000 and will be honored at the PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony.

The PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award was founded by scientist and author Dr. Edward O. Wilson, activist and actor Harrison Ford, and the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. The award is also supported by James and Cathy Stone. The inaugural award was conferred in 2011. Examples of published works that exemplify the quality of writing the award is designed to acknowledge include Rachel Carlson’s Silent Spring (1962), Dr. James Watson’s The Double Helix (1969), Lewis Thomas’s The Lives of a Cell (1978), and Douglas Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (1979).

All winners and finalists for this award are eligible to receive PEN America’s official winner or finalist seal. If you are a publisher of a shortlisted or winning book for this award and are interested in obtaining PEN America’s award seal, please write to [email protected].

 

Eligibility 


Submissions for the 2020 awards cycle will be accepted from June 1, 2019, through August 15, 2019.

Eligible:

  • Eligible titles must have been published between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019.
  • Authors of the work must be permanent U.S. residents or American citizens.
  • If you submit a book for this award, you may not submit it for any additional PEN America Literary Award, with the exception of the PEN Open Book Award. Please note that the PEN/Faulkner is not considered a PEN America Literary Award.

NOT Eligible:

  • Self-published books
  • Anthologies

 

Submission guidelines


  • PEN America will only accept submissions from publishers, editors or literary agents. Authors may not submit their own book for this award.  
  • Please download the Declaration of Eligibility. Complete all fields and have a company executive sign in order to confirm the book’s eligibility. If eligible, please upload this form along with the rest of your application below.
  • If the book does not meet all of the listed eligibility requirements, the book will not be considered for this award.
  • Each submission is $85*. If you would like to pay by check, please enter CHECK in the coupon code field at checkout. Checks should be made out to PEN America. Please note that submission fees are not refundable.
  • Mail one copy of the candidate’s book to the address below. Please note that we also accept galleys and bound manuscripts.

PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
PEN America
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012

  • Once the submitted book is received and reviewed for eligibility by PEN America, you will be contacted by [email protected] by the end of the year and asked to ship one copy of the book to each of our three awards judges. Please add [email protected] to your safe sender list.
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*Submission fees may be waived for publishers whose annual net sales are less than $2 million. In order to have your dues waived, please have a company official write a letter on company letterhead stating that your press’ annual net sales are less than $2 million. Please send this letter as an attachment (.doc or .pdf) to [email protected]. Once received, you will be provided with a coupon code to use at check-out in order to have your submission fees waived. One fee waiver may be used for all 2020 PEN Awards; you do not need to submit a separate fee waiver for each award.