Submissions for each awards cycle are only accepted from publishers and literary agents; authors may not submit their own work.

This biennial prize, offered only in odd-numbered years, will go to the author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective that illuminates important contemporary issues and that has been published in the United States during the previous two calendar years. The book should possess the qualities of intellectual rigor and importance, perspicuity of expression, and stylistic elegance conspicuous in the writings of author and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, whose four dozen books and countless other publications continue to provide an important and incisive commentary on the American social, intellectual, and political scene. An award of $10,000 will be conferred on the author of the winning book. Click to view past winners of the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award »

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]

For more information, please visit our FAQ page.


Submission Guidelines


  • Eligible:
    • A candidate’s book of nonfiction must have been published in the United States in the two years prior to the Awards cycle year.
    • Candidates need not be U.S. residents.
    • If you submit a book for this award, you may not submit it for any additional PEN America awards. Please note that the PEN/Faulkner and PEN/Hemingway Awards are not PEN America awards.
  • NOT eligible:
    • Biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs are not accepted.
    • Self-published books are not eligible.


  • Submissions are only accepted from publishers and literary agents; authors may not submit their own work.
  • Please download and print the award’s Declaration of Eligibility. Complete all fields and have a company executive sign the form in order to confirm the book’s eligibility. If eligible, please mail this form along with one copy of the book to PEN America’s office (see step 3). If the book does not meet all of the eligibility criteria, the book will not be considered for this award.
  • When submissions open for this award, a link to its online submission form will appear here. 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 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.
  • Mail one copy of the candidate’s book along with the book’s completed Declaration of Eligibility (see step 1) to the address below during the submission period. Please note that we also accept galleys and bound manuscripts.

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction
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.

*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’s 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 2019 PEN Awards; publishers do not need to submit separate fee waivers for each PEN award.