Announcing the 2022 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists

“PEN America Literary Awards Finalists” in centered text; golden rays sticking out from each corner

PEN America is honored to announce the finalists for the 2022 Literary Awards. Our Awards are juried by panels of esteemed, award-winning authors, editors, translators, and critics. These authors are committed to recognizing their contemporaries, from promising debut writers to those who have had a continuous, lasting impact on the literary landscape. You can learn more about the 2022 PEN America Literary Awards judges here.

The 2022 Literary Awards will confer over $350,000 to writers and translators. Spanning fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, essay, science writing, translation, and more, these finalists’ books are dynamic, diverse, and thought-provoking examples of literary excellence.

Winners will be announced at the Literary Awards Ceremony on February 28, 2022 at 8pm at The Town Hall in New York City.

PEN/Jean Stein Book Award ($75,000)

2022 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award finalists book covers
To a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact, which has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence.

Judges: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Angie Cruz, Maurice Manning, Steph Opitz

The President and The Frog, Carolina De Robertis (Knopf)
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The Trees: A Novel, Percival Everett (Graywolf Press)
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The Kissing Bug: A True Story of a Family, an Insect, and a Nation’s Neglect of a Deadly Disease, Daisy Hernández (Tin House Books)
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Milk Blood Heat, Dantiel W. Moniz (Grove Press)
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Harrow, Joy Williams (Knopf)
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PEN Open Book Award ($10,000)

2022 PEN Open Book Award finalists book covers
To an exceptional book-length work of any literary genre by an author of color.

Judges: Jaquira Díaz, Rigoberto González, Sequoia Nagamatsu, Khadijah Queen

Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts, Rebecca Hall (Simon & Schuster)
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Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir, Rajiv Mohabir (Restless Books)
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Names for Light: A Family History, Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint (Graywolf Press)
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Curb, Divya Victor (Nightboat Books)
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White Magic, Elissa Washuta (Tin House Books)
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PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection ($25,000)

2022 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize For Debut Short Story Collection finalists book covers
To an author whose debut collection of short stories represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise for future work.

Judges: Ling Ma, Manuel Muñoz, Oscar Villalon

Skinship: Stories, Yoon Choi (Knopf)
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Eat the Mouth That Feeds You, Carribean Fragoza (City Lights Books)
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Milk Blood Heat, Dantiel W. Moniz (Grove Press)
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Objects of Desire: Stories, Clare Sestanovich (Knopf)
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Give My Love to the Savages: Stories, Chris Stuck (Amistad Press)
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PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel ($10,000)

2022 PEN/Hemingway Award For Debut Novel finalists book covers
To a debut novel of exceptional literary merit by an American author.

Judges: Zeyn Joukhadar, Téa Obreht, Daniel Torday

Burnt Sugar, Avni Doshi (The Overlook Press)
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Dear Miss Metropolitan: A Novel, Carolyn Ferrell (Henry Holt & Company)
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The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Novel, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (Harper)
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Detransition, Baby: A Novel, Torrey Peters (One World)
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The Five Wounds: A Novel, Kirstin Valdez Quade (W.W. Norton & Company)
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PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($15,000)

2022 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award For The Art Of The Essay finalists book covers
For a seasoned writer whose collection of essays is an expansion on their corpus of work and preserves the distinguished art form of the essay.

Judges: Jason DeParle, Hua Hsu, Marilynne Robinson

A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance, Hanif Abdurraqib (Random House)
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Homo Irrealis: Essays, André Aciman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
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Black Paper: Writing in a Dark Time, Teju Cole (University of Chicago Press)
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These Precious Days: Essays, Ann Patchett (Harper)
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Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South, Margaret Renkl (Milkweed Editions)
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PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection ($5,000)

2022 PEN/Voelcker Award For Poetry Finalists book covers
To a poet whose distinguished collection of poetry represents a notable and accomplished literary presence.

Judges: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Lia Purpura, Safiya Sinclair

Yellow Rain: Poems, Mai Der Vang (Graywolf Press)
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Sho, Douglas Kearney (Wave Books)
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Heard-Hoard, Atsuro Riley (University of Chicago Press)
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frank: sonnets, Diane Seuss (Graywolf Press)
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Mutiny, Phillip B. Williams (Penguin Books)
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PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000)

2022 PEN Award For Poetry In Translation finalists book covers
For a book-length translation of poetry from any language into English.

Judges: Caro Carter, Michael Favala Goldman, Parisa Saranj

Exhausted on the Cross, Najwan Darwish (New York Review Books)
Translated from the Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid
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Everything I Don’t Know, Jerzy Ficowski (World Poetry Books)
Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Grotz and Piotr Sommer
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I Name Him Me: Selected Poems of Ma Yan, Ma Yan (Ugly Duckling Presse)
Translated from the Chinese by Stephen Nashef
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Outgoing Vessel, Ursula Andkjær Olsen (Action Books)
Translated from the Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen
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Ova Completa, Susana Thénon (Ugly Duckling Presse)
Translated from Spanish by Rebekah Smith
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PEN Translation Prize ($3,000)

2022 PEN Translation Prize finalists book covers
For a book-length translation of prose from any language into English.

Judges: Almiro Andrade, Mayada Ibrahim, Barbara Ofosu-Somuah, Sharon E. Rhodes

FEM, Magda Cârneci (Deep Vellum)
Translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter
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New Year, Juli Zeh (World Editions)
Translated from the German by Alta L. Price
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Migratory Birds, Mariana Oliver (Transit Books)
Translated from the Spanish by Julia Sanches
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The Last One: A Novel, Fatima Daas (Other Press)
Translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud
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Kaya Days: A Novel, Carl de Souza (Two Line Press)
Translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman
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PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000)

2022 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award finalists book covers
For a work that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience.

Judges: Jonathan Safran Foer, Michele Harper, Lauren Redniss

The Memory Thief: And the Secrets Behind What We Remember — A Medical Mystery, Lauren Aguirre (Pegasus Books)
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The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (Bold Type Books)
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Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship, Catherine Raven (Spiegel & Grau)
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Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World, Lisa Wells (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
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Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive, Carl Zimmer (Dutton Books)
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PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000)

2022 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award For Biography finalists book covers
For a biography of exceptional literary, narrative, and artistic merit, based on scrupulous research.

Judges: Luke Dittrich, Paul Golob, Imani Perry

The Invention of Miracles: Language, Power, and Alexander Graham Bell’s Quest to End Deafness, Katie Booth (Simon & Schuster)
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All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler, Rebecca Donner (Little Brown and Company)
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Albert and the Whale: Albrecht Dürer and How Art Imagines Our World , Philip Hoare (Pegasus Books)
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The Gambler Wife: A True Story of Love, Risk, and the Woman Who Saved Dostoyevsky, Andrew D. Kaufman (Riverhead Books)
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Orwell’s Roses, Rebecca Solnit (Viking)
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PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000)

2022 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award For Nonfiction finalists book covers
For a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective that illuminates important contemporary issues.

Judges: Emma Copley Eisenberg, Dr. K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Chanel Miller, Dagmawi Woubshet

Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City, Andrea Elliott (Random House)
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All that She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family’s Keepsake, Tiya Miles (Random House)
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Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration, Reuben Jonathan Miller (Little Brown and Company)
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Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993, Sarah Schulman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
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How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, Clint Smith (Little Brown and Company)
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