Nominations will be requested from current Professional Members of PEN.  

The PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing is given to one living American or U.S.-based writer each year to celebrate their body of work. The award seeks to recognize a lifetime of writing about sports and its dimensions of character and action with keen knowledge and insight, and especially with a literary voice evidenced in a style of agility and flair. Eligible candidates may work in short- or long-form prose.  Winners receive a prize of $5,000 and are selected at the discretion of a panel of three judges, selected by the PEN Awards Committee, who make their decision based on their knowledge of sports writing, as well as letters of nomination from PEN Members. Judges will also be permitted to supplement the list of candidates with nominations of their own.

Click to view past winners of the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing »

Publishers interested in nominating a single book, please see the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing.

For more information, please visit our FAQ page.



Submissions for the 2019 awards cycle will be accepted from June 1, 2018 through August 15, 2018. 


  • Candidates for the award must be living American or U.S.-based writers.

submission guidelines 

  • Nominations must be made by awards judges or PEN Members. Click here to learn how to become a member.
  • The nomination form will require:
    • A statement of support that describes in some detail how the sports writer meets the criteria for the award.
    • Detailed information on the sports writer’s past publications
  • Click here to fill out the nomination form.