Announcing The 2024 PEN/Bare Life Review Grant Winners

PEN America is delighted to announce the 2024 literary grant winners for the PEN/Bare Life Review Grants.

Publishers, agents, and editors who wish to learn more about these projects are invited to contact the PEN America Literary Awards team at [email protected].

PEN/Bare Life Review Grants ($5,000)

The PEN/Bare Life Review Grants support literary works in progress by immigrant and refugee writers, recognizing that the literature of migration is of inherent and manifest value. PEN America will confer two PEN/Bare Life Review Grants of $5,000 each.

Established in June 2023, the grants are made possible by a substantial contribution from The Bare Life Review, which celebrates world literature and has been a champion for migrant and diasporic arts.

Chibuike Ogbonnaya, The Miraculous Wonders of Love 

A collection of variety and breadth, The Miraculous Wonders of Love explores the experiences of transgender characters in religious spaces, focusing on Christianity and Igbo Traditional religion. In these stories, Ogbonnaya resists reductive narratives about Nigerian LGBTQ experiences, and centers trans and gender non-conforming people making space for themselves in unlikely places. Innovative, tender, and heartbreaking, this collection expands what it means to be an LGBTQ immigrant, and pushes us away from the binaries of gender, tradition, and faith. Ogbonnaya’s stories and prose are a necessary addition to the rich tradition of Nigerian letters—a testament that LGBTQ stories and spirituality can go hand in hand. 

Doua Thao, An Americans

The lyrical and rugged collide in Doua Thao’s An Americans, a novel that explores the voices of a Hmong refugee community in the Midwest. As characters navigate their place in the new American world to forge themselves anew post the Laotian Secret War, the novel explores the fractures and the limits of community living. The old ways haunt the new in growing tensions between the old and young, between those that take on the new religion and those who cling to the customs of the past while struggling to eke a living amongst existing communities with their own tribal values. Following the perspectives of different community members, the novel forces us to ask: when we move to a new place, across short and long distances, what parts of us do we keep, and what parts of us do we forfeit? Thao’s prose is an instant classic.