The PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography is awarded for excellence in the art of biography. This prize of $5,000 will go to the author of a distinguished work published in the United States during the previous calendar year. The winning title should be a work of exceptional literary, narrative and artistic merit, based on scrupulous research.

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’s award seal, please write to [email protected].

Click to view past winners of the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography »

Eligibility and Submissions for the 2018 Awards

Submissions for 2018 Awards
Submissions for the 2018 awards cycle will be accepted from June 1, 2017 through August 15, 2017. 

Who is eligible

  • A candidate’s book of nonfiction must have been published in the United States between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017.
  • Books must be works by an author about another figure; neither memoir nor autobiography is eligible.
  • Candidates need not be U.S. residents.
  • PEN will only accept submissions from publishers, editors, and agents.
  • Self-published books are not eligible.
  • If you submit a book for this award, you may not submit it for any additional PEN American Center awards. Please note that the PEN/Faulkner and PEN/Hemingway Awards are not considered PEN American Center awards.

How to apply
1. Please download the Declaration of Eligibility here.. Complete all fields and have a company executive sign in order to confirm the book’s eligibility. If eligible, please upload the form along with the rest of your application. If the book does not meet all of the listed eligibility requirements, the book will not be considered for this award.

2. Each submission is $75*. 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 American Center. Please also submit a verified email address on the submission form; your order cannot be processed without an email address, as this info will be used to later contact you regarding the shipments of your submission. Please note that submission fees are not refundable.

3. Mail one copy of the candidate’s book to the address below between June 1 and August 15, 2017. Please note that we do accept galleys and bound manuscripts:

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography
PEN America
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012

4. Once the submitted book is received and reviewed for eligibility by PEN, you will be contacted by [email protected] before the end of the year and be asked to ship one copy of the book to each of our three awards judges. Please be sure to add [email protected] to your safe sender list.

<span”>*Submission fees may be waived for publishers whose annual net sales are less than $4 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 $4 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 2018 PEN Awards; you do not need to submit a separate fee waiver for each award.