PEN America Literary Awards

Since 1963, the PEN America Literary Awards have honored many of the most outstanding voices in literature across diverse genres, including fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, and drama. With the help of our partners, PEN America confers over 20 distinct awards, fellowships, grants and prizes each year, awarding nearly $370,000 to writers and translators. 

Submissions for the 2020 Awards cycle will open on June 1, 2019.

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2019 PEN AMERICA LITERARY AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

PEN America is thrilled to announce the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards winners. The following book award winners were announced live at the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 26, 2019, at the NYU Skirball Center in NYC, hosted by Hari Kondabolu. 

Debut authors and works by and about women prevailed in a year with a record number of submissions in the nation’s largest literary awards program. The worlds of Hollywood and literature converged with the debut of the PEN/Mike Nichols Award for Performance Writing, conferred on film director, playwright, and screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan for his exemplary portfolio of work in 2018, including two Broadway stage productions that ran simultaneously: The Waverly Gallery, originally produced in 1999, which follows an aging leftist activist as she battles Alzheimer’s, and Lobby Hero, originally produced in 2002, which chronicles the story of personal ambitions amid a murder mystery. The award, established by PEN America and Saturday Night Live creator and director Lorne Michaels, highlights transformative works that enlighten and inspire audiences in the tradition of venerated film and theater director, producer, and comedian Mike Nichols, who passed away in 2014.

Novelist, poet, and essayist Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, and many more beloved works, was lauded for a lifetime of extraordinary literary contribution and presented with the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. Judges Alexander Chee, Edwidge Danticat, and Valeria Luiselli noted her “formidable and awe-inspiring body of work, which includes fiction, memoir, and poetry,” adding that “it’s hard to imagine navigating our world today without her stories and her voice guiding us toward much needed reclamation and endurance.”

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View a full list of our awards, grants, and fellowships, both past and present.  

Search the PEN Literary Awards archives. 

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Find links to work by and interviews with featured honorees. 

News

Meet the 2019 Literary Awards Judges

PEN America’s 2019 Literary Awards judges join a long tradition of esteemed writers and PEN America members committed to recognizing their contemporaries, from promising debut writers to those who… More

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