Meet the 2022 Literary Awards Judges

PEN America’s 2022 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 have had a continuous, lasting impact on literary excellence. Our judges this year hail from across the world and represent a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds, identities, and aesthetic lineages, and are award-winning writers themselves. Each year, our judges are selected with the help of the PEN America Literary Awards Committee.

We are honored to introduce you here to the 2022 PEN America Literary Awards judges.

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

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum headshot

SARAH SHUN-LIEN BYNUM is the author of two novels—Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize—and a story collection, Likes, a finalist for the Story Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her fiction has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Tin House, The O. Henry Prize Collection Series, and The Best American Short Stories. She lives in Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Mara Casey

Angie Cruz headshot

ANGIE CRUZ is the author of Dominicana, shortlisted for The Women’s Prize, UK, and winner of the YALSA Alex Award. Her next novel, How Not to Drown In a Glass of Water, will be published by Flatiron Books in 2022. She is the editor of Aster(ix) and teaches fiction at the University of Pittsburgh. She splits her time between Washington Heights, Pittsburgh, and Turin.

Maurice Manning headshot

MAURICE MANNING has published seven books of poetry, most recently Railsplitter. His fourth book, The Common Man, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Manning has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Guggenheim Foundation. He lives with his family in Kentucky and  teaches at Transylvania University and for the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. Photo Credit: Steve Cody

Steph Opitz headshot

STEPH OPITZ is VP of Partnerships at Zibby Books. She is founder of The Loft Literary Center’s Wordplay book festival. Steph is also a visiting instructor at the University of Minnesota. She serves on committees for the National Book Foundation, PEN America, and LitNet. She has curated literary events around the country—as literary director of the Texas Book Festival and fiction cochair of the Brooklyn Book Festival, and on the programs team for the PEN World Voices Festival among others. Photo Credit: Cait Bielefeldt

PEN Open Book Award ($10,000)

Jaquira Diaz headshot

JAQUIRA DÍAZ was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami. She is the author of Ordinary Girls, winner of a Whiting Award, a Florida Book Awards Gold Medal, and a Lambda Literary Awards finalist. Ordinary Girls was an Indies Introduce selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers notable selection, an Indie Next pick, and a LibraryReads pick. She is the recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, and fellowships from MacDowell, Kenyon Review, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Photo Credit: Maria Esquinca

Rigoberto Gonzalez headshot

RIGOBERTO GONZÁLEZ is the author of 17 books of poetry and prose. He is distinguished professor of English and director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers-Newark. He has received fellowships from NEA, Guggenheim, United States Artists, and Lannan Foundation. In 2019 he was honored with the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. Photo Credit: Mahsa Hojjati

Sequoia Nagamatsu headshot

SEQUOIA NAGAMATSU is the author of the forthcoming novels, How High We Go in the Dark (2022) and Girl Zero (William Morrow/HarperCollins) and the story collection, Where We Go When All We Were is Gone (Black Lawrence Press). His work has appeared in publications such as Conjunctions, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA, Tin House, Iowa Review, and Lightspeed Magazine. He teaches creative writing at St. Olaf College and the Rainier Writing Workshop Low-Residency MFA program. Photo Credit: Lauren B. Photography

Khadijah Queen headshot

KHADIJAH QUEEN, PhD, is the author of six books, including I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On (2017), praised in O Magazine, The New Yorker, Rain Taxi, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere as “quietly devastating,” and “a portrait of defiance that turns the male gaze inside out.” An essay about the pandemic, “False Dawn,” appears in Harper’s Magazine. Her latest poetry collection, Anodyne, was published in August 2020 by Tin House, and is the winner of the William Carlos Williams Book Award. She is an associate professor of creative writing at Virginia Tech.

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection ($25,000)

Ling Ma headshot

LING MA is the author of Severance (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018). Translated into eight languages, it received the Kirkus Prize, the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. She is the recipient of the Whiting Award, and of a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship. Her work has appeared in Granta, Playboy, Vice, Zoetrope, Ninth Letter, Chicago Reader, and others. She lives in Chicago, where she teaches creative writing. Photo Credit: Anjali Pinto

Manuel Munoz headshot

MANUEL MUÑOZ is the author of a novel, What You See in the Dark, and the short-story collections Zigzagger and The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue, which was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. He has been recognized with a Whiting Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, three O. Henry Awards, and an appearance in Best American Short Stories. His next collection, The Consequences, will be published by Graywolf Press. He lives and works in Tucson, Arizona.

Oscar Villalon headshot

OSCAR VILLALON is the managing editor at the literary journal ZYZZYVA. His writing has appeared in Freeman’s, the Virginia Quarterly Review, The Believer, Literary Hub, and other publications, and in the anthology There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters from a Crisis (Vintage). A former board member of the National Book Critics Circle, and a former book editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, he was the chair of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize fiction jury. He lives in San Francisco.

PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers ($2,000 to 12 Winners)

Sabrina Orah Mark headshot

SABRINA ORAH MARK is the author of the poetry collections The Babies and Tsim Tsum. Wild Milk, her first book of fiction, is recently out from Dorothy, a publishing project. Happily, her collection of essays on fairy tales and motherhood, which began as a monthly column in The Paris Review, is forthcoming from Random House. She has received fellowships from the Creative Capital Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She lives in Athens, Georgia. Photo Credit: Sarah Baugh

Emily Nemens headshot

EMILY NEMENS is the author of The Cactus League (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2020), which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a Los Angeles Times bestseller, and was named one of the best books of the year by NPR and Lit Hub. Her writing and illustrations have appeared in Baseball Prospectus, The Iowa Review, The Gettysburg Review, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. Emily spent a decade editing literary quarterlies, including The Paris Review, which won the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Award for Fiction under her tenure, and The Southern ReviewPhoto Credit: James Emmerman

Deesha Philyaw headshot

DEESHA PHILYAW’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 Los Angeles Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio [Fiction] Fellow and will be the 2022–2023 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. Photo Credit: Vanessa German

PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel ($10,000)

Zeyn Joukhadar headshot

ZEYN JOUKHADAR is the author of the novels The Thirty Names of Night (winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Stonewall Book Award) and The Map of Salt and Stars (winner of the Middle East Book Award and a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards and the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize). His work has appeared in the Kink anthology, Salon, The Paris Review, [PANK], and elsewhere, and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He was the guest editor of Mizna’s 2020 Queer + Trans Voices issue and is a mentor with the PERIPLUS Collective. Photo Credit: Sara Deidda

Tea Obreht headshot

TÉA OBREHT is the internationally best-selling author of The Tiger’s Wife, which won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her second novel, Inland, won the Southwest Book Award and was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and Zoetrope: All-Story, among many others. Originally from the former Yugoslavia, she now splits her time between Wyoming and Texas, where she serves as Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University. Photo Credit: Ilan Harel

Daniel Torday headshot

DANIEL TORDAY is the author of two novels, The Last Flight of Poxl West and Boomer1. A two-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction and the Sami Rohr Choice Prize, Torday’s stories and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, and have been honored by the Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays series. A feature film adaptation of his second novel, Boomer1, based on his screenplay, is in development with End Cue Productions. Torday is a professor of creative writing at Bryn Mawr College. Photo Credit: Stefan Abrams

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($15,000)

Jason Deparle headshot

JASON DEPARLE is a reporter for The New York Times and writes about poverty in America. He is the author of American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation’s Drive to End Welfare (Viking, 2004), which won the Helen Bernstein Book Award from The New York City Public Library. His second book, A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century (Viking, 2019), was chosen by The Washington Post as one of the year’s 10 best books. He is a winner of the George Polk Award and a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Photo Credit: Diana Walker

Hua Hsu headshot

HUA HSU is a staff writer at The New Yorker and an associate professor of English at Vassar College. He is the author of A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific (Harvard University Press, 2015) and the forthcoming memoir Stay True (Doubleday, 2022). He serves on the boards of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and Critical Minded, an initiative to support cultural critics of color. Photo Credit: Karl Rabe/Vassar College

Marilynne Robinson headshot

MARILYNNE ROBINSON has written five highly acclaimed novels: Housekeeping (1980), Gilead (2004), Home (2008), Lila (2014), and Jack (2020). Housekeeping was a finalist for the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (US), Gilead was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, and Home received the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction (UK). Robinson is also the author of When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays (2012), The Givenness of Things: Essays (2015), and What Are We Doing Here? (2018), among others. Photo Credit: Alec Soth

PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection ($5,000)

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram headshot

LILLIAN-YVONNE BERTRAM works at the intersection of poetry and computation. They are the author of Travesty Generator (Noemi Press, 2019), longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award for Poetry. Additional books include How Narrow My Escapes (Diagram/New Michigan Press 2019), Personal Science (Tupelo Press 2017), a slice from the cake made of air (Red Hen Press 2016), and But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise (Red Hen Press, 2012), chosen by Claudia Rankine as winner of the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award. An editor-at-large for Persea Books and Black Ocean Books, they also serve as the director of the Chautauqua Writers Festival. Photo Credit: Adrienne Mathiowetz

Lia Purpura headshot

LIA PURPURA is the author of nine collections of essays, poems, and translations. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for On Looking: Essays, her awards include Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Arts, and Fulbright Fellowships, as well as five Pushcart Prizes and the AWP Award in Nonfiction. Her work appears in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Orion, The Paris Review, Emergence Magazine, and elsewhere. She lives in Baltimore  where she is writer-in-residence at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her latest collections are It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful (poems, Penguin) and All the Fierce Tethers (essays, Sarabande Books). Photo Credit: John Dean

Safiya Sinclair headshot

SAFIYA SINCLAIR was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She is the author of Cannibal, winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award in Literature, and the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Sinclair’s other honors include a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, The Nation, and elsewhere. She is an associate professor of creative writing at Arizona State University. Her memoir, How to Say Babylon, is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster. Photo Credit: Nadia Albano

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000)

Caro Carter headshot

CARO CARTER is a poet and prose writer, multidisciplinary artist, and literary translator working from Spanish. They are a member of the Third Coast Translators Collective (TCTC), a former editor of Memoryhouse Magazine, and a current nonprofit professional at Chicago’s Newberry Library. In 2019 they received a BA in romance languages and literatures from the University of Chicago, earning honors for their thesis exploring the work of Equatoguinean writer María Nsué Angüe.

Michael Goldman headshot

Danish translator MICHAEL FAVALA GOLDMAN is also a poet, educator, and jazz clarinetist. Among his 16 translated books are Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen and Something To Live Up To: Selected Poems by Benny Andersen. Goldman’s books of original poetry include Who has time for this? (2020), Slow Phoenix (2021), and Small Sovereign (2021). His work has appeared in numerous literary journals and has received rave reviews in The New York Times and The Times. He lives in Massachusetts  where he has been running poetry critique groups since 2018.

Parisa Saranj headshot

PARISA SARANJ is a writer and translator based in Baltimore, Maryland. Born and raised in Isfahan, Iran, she is currently completing a memoir of growing up there in the 1990s. Her literary translations have appeared in several publications, including Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, Your Impossible Voice, Consequence, and The Blue Nib. Her nonliterary translations have appeared in Ms. Magazine, the Washington Post, and She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Goucher College.

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000)

Almiro Andrade headshot

ALMIRO ANDRADE is a queer Black Latinx actor, director, playwright, dramaturg, educationist, and theater translator. Their approach sees all stages of theater-making as acts of translation and their practice champions the production of international pieces in the most diverse settings across the globe. A lecturer at University of the Arts London, their latest translations include the first English translation of Namíbia, Não! by Aldri Anunciação; The Blind One and The Mad One by Cláudia Barral (Inti Press, 2021); and the Brazilian canonical playwright’s Nelson Rodrigues: Selected Plays (Bloomsbury/Oberon, 2019).

Mayada Ibrahim headshot

MAYADA IBRAHIM is an editor, writer, and translator from Sudan, living in New York, and working in Arabic and English. Her translations have been published by Bloomsbury Publishing and Banipal Magazine in the UK, Willow House in South Sudan, and the University of Nebraska Press in the United States.

Barbara Ofosu-Somuah headshot

BARBARA OFOSU-SOMUAH is a writer and Italian-to-English translator. Her translations bring the works of contemporary Black Italian writers to readers of English. She has received both Thomas J. Watson and Fulbright research fellowships to investigate the racialized lived experiences of Black people, primarily women, across the African diaspora. She leverages translation to make those stories accessible.

Sharon Rhodes headshot

SHARON E. RHODES is a literary scholar, writer, and translator working from Danish, Old English, and Latin. She was selected as an Emerging Translator by the National Centre for Writing in 2020, and her work has been supported by numerous grants from the Danish Arts Foundation. Her scholarship focuses on translation’s role in the practice and development of Christianity in northern Europe. She earned a master’s degree in literary translation and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Rochester. She lives in western New York and is a member of the translation collective Sagebrush.

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000)

Jonathan Safran Foer headshot

JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER is the author of three award-winning and internationally best-selling novels: Everything Is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (both Houghton Mifflin), and Here I Am (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), as well as two works of nonfiction: Eating Animals and The New American Haggadah (both Little Brown). His books are published in over 30 languages. His most recent work of nonfiction is We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, and his next novel, Escape from Children’s Hospital, will be published in 2022 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Photo Credit: Jeff Mermelstein

Michele Harper headshot

MICHELE HARPER has worked as an emergency room physician for more than a decade at various institutions, including as chief resident at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx and in the emergency department at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia. She is a graduate of Harvard University and the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. Her first book, The Beauty in Breaking, was a New York Times Best Seller. Photo Credit: LaTosha Oglesby

Lauren Redniss headshot

LAUREN REDNISS is the author of several works of visual nonfiction and a MacArthur Foundation fellow. Her books include Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future, winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Her most recent book is Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West. She has been a Guggenheim fellow, a fellow at The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and at New America Foundation, and Artist-in-Residence at the American Museum of Natural History. Photo Credit: Whitney Chandler

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000)

Luke Dittrich headshot

LUKE DITTRICH is the author of Patient H.M. (Random House, 2016), a New York Times Best Seller which won the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine and Esquire, and he is the winner of the National Magazine Award for feature writing. He is currently working on a book about a 17th-century murder case. Photo Credit: Vance Jacobs

Paul Golob headshot

PAUL GOLOB is a longtime editor of nonfiction books, having held senior positions at Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, PublicAffairs, and most recently Henry Holt and Company, where he oversaw the Times Books imprint and published the American Presidents Series of biographies of U.S. presidents. He is currently an independent editor and consultant whose clients include Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, former government officials, historians, and biographers. He has been a guest lecturer at Columbia, NYU, Princeton, and Stanford.

Imani Perry headshot

IMANI PERRY is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. She is an writer of creative nonfiction, and a scholar of cultural studies, cultural history, literature and legal history, and the author of six books, including the multi-award winning titles: Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radial Life of Lorraine Hansberry, and May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem. Perry’s next book: South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, will be published in January of 2022. Photo Credit: Sameer Khan

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000)

Emma Copley Eisenberg headshot

EMMA COPLEY EISENBERG is a queer writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, Granta, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, Esquire, Guernica, The Washington Post Magazine, and others. Her first book of nonfiction, The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2020 and nominated for an Edgar Award, a Lambda Literary Award, and an Anthony Bouchercon Award. Raised in New York City, she lives in Philadelphia, where she directs Blue Stoop, a community hub for the literary arts. Her next two books, a novel and a collection of short stories, are forthcoming from Hogarth (Penguin Random House). Photo Credit: Sylvie Rosokoff

K. Tsianina Lomawaima headshot

DR. K TSIANINA LOMAWAIMA (Mvskoke / Creek Nation descent), author of “To Remain an Indian”: Lessons in Democracy from a Century of Native American Education (2006), explores U.S. citizenship, federalism, and Native sovereignty. Her scholarship on federal off-reservation boarding schools is rooted in the experiences of her father, Curtis Thorpe Carr, a survivor of the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, described in her book They Called it Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School, 1994. Cofounder of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, Lomawaima is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education. Photo Credit: Mike Mott

Chanel Miller headshot

CHANEL MILLER is a writer and artist. Her memoir, Know My Name, was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Ridenhour Book Prize, and the California Book Award. It was also a best book of the year in Time, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, NPR, and People, among others. She was named one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 and a Time100 Next honoree, and a Glamour Woman of the Year honoree under her pseudonym Emily Doe. She currently has an exhibit at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum titled, I was, I am, I will bePhoto Credit: Mariah Tiffany

Dagmawi Woubshet headshot

DAGMAWI WOUBSHET is the Ahuja Family Presidential Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Calendar of Loss: Race, Sexuality, and Mourning in the Early Era of AIDS (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), and coedited the volume Ethiopia: Literature, Art, and Culture, a special issue of Callaloo (2010). His scholarly and creative writings have appeared in various publications, including Transition, The Atlantic, Souls, NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, and African Lives: An AnthologyPhoto Credit: Levester Williams

PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature ($50,000)

Laila Lalami headshot

LAILA LALAMI is the author of four novels, including The Moor’s Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab-American Book Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. It was on the longlist for the Booker Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Her most recent novel, The Other Americans, was a national best seller and a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the National Book Award in Fiction. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Harper’s, the Guardian, and The New York Times. She has been awarded fellowships from the British Council, the Fulbright Program, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her latest book, Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America, was published by Pantheon in September 2020. Photo Credit: April Rocha

Mónica de la Torre headshot

MÓNICA DE LA TORRE’s most recent poetry book is Repetition Nineteen (Nightboat). Other books include The Happy End/All Welcome—a riff on a riff on Kafka’s Amerika—and Public Domain. Born and raised in Mexico City, she lives in New York City and has published several books in Spanish, including Taller de Taquimecanografía, written jointly with the eponymous women artists’ collective she helped form. She is a contributing editor to BOMB and Ugly Duckling Presse’s series of Latin American poetry in translation, Señal. She coedited the international anthology Women in Concrete Poetry 1959–79 (Primary Information) and teaches at Brooklyn College. Photo Credit: Carolina Passerini

David Treurer headshot

The New York Times best-selling author DAVID TREUER is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. The son of a Jewish Holocaust survivor and an Ojibwe lawyer and judge, Treuer grew up on the Leech Lake Reservation before attending Princeton, where he worked with Toni Morrison, and the University of Michigan, where he earned his PhD in anthropology. The author of seven books, he is the winner of three Minnesota Book Awards, the California Book Award for Nonfiction, and the Housatonic Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Carnegie Medal. He divides his time between his home on the Leech Lake Reservation and Los Angeles.

PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award ($10,000)

Vinson Cunningham headshot

VINSON CUNNINGHAM joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2016. Since 2019, he has served as a theatre critic for the magazine. In 2020, he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for his profile of the comedian Tracy Morgan. His writing on books, art, and culture has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Times Book Review, Vulture, the Awl, The Fader, and McSweeney’s, where he wrote a column called “Field Notes from Gentrified Places.” Cunningham previously served as a staff assistant in the Obama White House administration. Photo Credit: Jane Bruce

Velina Hasu Houston headshot

VELINA HASU HOUSTON’s career began off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club, expanding globally. A playwright and musical theater/opera librettist, she also is an essayist, published poet, screenwriter, novelist, journalist, and blogger. Honored by the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, Japan Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Theatre Communications Group, and others, she founded graduate playwriting studies at the School of Dramatic Arts, University of Southern California, where she is Distinguished Professor, director of dramatic writing, and resident playwright, and a member of the Iovine and Young Academy faculty. A Fulbright Scholar, her archives are at Huntington Library and the Library of Congress. Photo Credit: Ken Matsui

Christian Parker headshot

CHRISTIAN PARKER is a director, dramaturg, and former chair of the graduate Theatre Program (2012–19) at Columbia University, where he also heads the dramaturgy concentration. Christian has produced, directed, or dramaturged over 50 premieres of new American and British plays on, off, and off-off Broadway. From 2001–2014 he was the associate artistic director of the Atlantic Theater Company. He served on the Tony Awards Nominating Committee from 2014–2017. Recent publications include critical articles for Contemporary Theatre Review (UK) on Sam Shepard and Simon Stephens. He is currently working on two books, one based around his foundational dramaturgy course and another on leadership and ethics in the theater. Photo Credit: Brian Hutchison

PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History ($15,000 to two winners)

Crystal Baik headshot

CRYSTAL MUN-HYE BAIK is a feminist memory worker and an associate professor at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of Reencounters: On the Korean War and Diasporic Memory Critique, which explores how the unfinished Korean War is remembered through an open-ended archive of cultural works, including experimental oral history. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Amerasia, The Oral History Review, Journal of Asian American Studies, Social Text: Periscope, and several anthologies. Currently she is working on a creative nonfiction work that explores Korean/American feminist activisms through banishment, repair, and healing. Photo Credit: Eugene Lee

Gracen Brilmyer headshot

GRACEN BRILMYER is a researcher whose work investigates the erasure of disabled people in archives as well as how disabled people experience themselves in archival material. Their writing on disability history, archival methodologies, and the history of science has been featured in publications such as the Journal of Feminist Scholarship, Archival Science, and Catalyst. They are currently an assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at McGill University and director of the Disability Archives Lab.

Joe Richman headshot

JOE RICHMAN is a Peabody Award–winning producer and reporter, and the founder of Radio Diaries, a nonprofit organization. For two decades, Radio Diaries has helped to pioneer a model for working with people to document their own lives for public radio. Joe has collaborated with teenagers and octogenarians, prisoners and prison guards, gospel preachers and bra saleswomen, the famous and the unknown. Through his career, he has interviewed hundreds of people, from a seltzer delivery man to a Civil War widow to Nelson Mandela. The Los Angeles Times called Joe “a kind of Studs Terkel of the airwaves.”

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants

Kareem James Abu-Zeid headshot

KAREEM JAMES ABU-ZEID, Ph.D., is an award-winning translator of poets and novelists from across the Arab world who translates from Arabic, French, and German. His work has earned him an National Endowment for the Arts translation grant, PEN Translation Prize, Poetry magazine’s translation prize, residencies from the Lannan Foundation and the Banff Centre, a Fulbright Fellowship (Germany), and a CASA Fellowship (Egypt), among other honors. His most recent translation is Najwan Darwish’s Exhausted on the Cross (NYRB Poets, 2021). He is also the author of The Poetics of Adonis and Yves Bonnefoy: Poetry as Spiritual Practice.

Nicholas Glastonbury headshot

NICHOLAS GLASTONBURY is a translator of Turkish and Kurdish literature. He is also a doctoral candidate in cultural anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a coeditor of the e-zine Jadaliyya. His translation of Sema Kaygusuz’s novel Every Fire You Tend won the 2020 TA First Translation Prize from the Society of Authors. Photo Credit: Jesse DeFrancesco

Thomas Kitson headshot

THOMAS J. KITSON translates from Russian. His translation of Iliazd’s Rapture (Columbia University Press, 2017) won a Read Russia Prize Special Mention in 2018 and he received a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship for Iliazd’s Philosophia. He helped curate a small exhibition on Iliazd at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library and contributed to the 2021 exhibition Iliazd: Publishing as an Art Form at the San Francisco Legion of Honor. His comments on Tolstoy’s War and Peace appear in Tolstoy Together: 85 Days of War and Peace with Yiyun Li (A Public Space, 2021). He lives in New York City.

Tess Lewis headshot

TESS LEWIS is a writer and translator from French and German. She has won various awards for her translations of works by Peter Handke, Walter Benjamin, Jonas Lüscher, Philippe Jaccottet, and others, including the PEN Translation Prize for Maja Haderlap’s Angel of Oblivion and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She served as cochair of the PEN Translation Committee and is an advisory editor for The Hudson Review, as well as cocurator of the Festival Neue Literatur, New York City’s annual festival of German language literature in English. Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz

Aditi Machado headshot

ADITI MACHADO is a poet, translator, and essayist. Her second book of poems, Emporium (Nightboat Books, 2020), received the James Laughlin Award. Her other works include the poetry collection Some Beheadings (Nightboat Books, 2017), a translation from the French of Farid Tali’s Prosopopoeia (Action Books, 2016), and several chapbooks, the most recent of which are a long poem called “Rhapsody” (Albion Books, 2020) and an essay titled “The End”, forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse. A former poetry editor for Asymptote (2011–2019), she works as an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati. Photo Credit: Erika Morillo

Minna Zallman Proctor headshot

MINNA ZALLMAN PROCTOR is a writer, editor, and translator from Italian. Her most recent translations include Fleur Jaeggy’s These Possible Lives and Natalia Ginzburg’s Happiness, As Such, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Warwick Women in Translation Prize. She is the editor of The Literary Review (TLR) and on the creative writing faculty at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is the author of Do You Hear What I Hear? Religious Calling, the Priesthood, and My Father, and Landslide: True Stories, and coauthor with Bethany Beardslee of I Sang the Unsingable: My Life in Twentieth-Century MusicPhoto Credit: Sandra Dawn

Kaitlin Rees headshot

KAITLIN REES, born in Wampsville, New York, has been moving between New York and Hanoi since 2011. With Nhã Thuyên she founded AJAR, a small bilingual publishing press with an online journal and a poetry festival. Her translations of Thuyên’s poetry have been published in various literary spaces, including one full-length collection, words breathe, creatures of elsewhere (Vagabond Press, 2016). After editing the Transpacific Literary Project of The Margins for several years, she is currently a public school teacher in Queens.

Jordan Smith headshot

JORDAN A. YAMAJI SMITH is a translator of many of Japan’s leading poets, editor-in-chief for Tokyo Poetry Journal, and author of the poetry volume Syzygy (Awai, 2020). Smith is also the associate professor of international humanities at Josai International University, partner at the digital marketing and software development studio Digital Will, and cofounder of KOTOBA (national poetry slam of Japan) and of the poetry-tech collective Cōem, creating tech-based poetic experiences. He produced and hosted a series on Japanese poetry and culture for BBC, the first of which was published as the collection Sea of Trees: Poetic Gateways to Aokigahara.

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Grant for Children’s and Young Adult Novelists ($5,000)

Jack Gantos headshot

JACK GANTOS is the author of over 55 books for children from the Rotten Ralph picture books, collections of short stories featuring Jack Henry, upper elementary and middle school Joey Pigza and Norvelt novels, to the middle school and young adult books Love Curse of the Rumbaughs, Desire Lines, Hole In My Life, and The Trouble In Me. His work can lead readers from the cradle to the grave. Gantos was a professor at Emerson College where he developed the master’s degree program in Children’s Literature, Writing, and Publishing. His works have received a Newbery Award, Scott O’Dell Award, Newbery Honor, Printz Honor, and Sibert Honor. Gantos was a finalist for a National Book Award, and is the recipient of the NCTE ALAN Award for his contribution to the field of Young Adult and Children’s Literature. Photo Credit: Cheryl Richards

Cheryl Willis Hudson headshot

CHERYL WILLIS HUDSON is vice president and editorial director of Just Us Books, Inc., an independent publishing company founded with her husband, Wade, that focuses on Black-interest books for young people. Her books include AFRO-BETS ABC BookBright Eyes, Brown Skin (coauthored with Bernette G. Ford); Hands CanMy Friend Maya Loves to Danceand three anthologies coedited with her husband: We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our VoicesThe Talk: Conversations about Race, Love & Truth; and Recognize! An Anthology Honoring and Amplifying Black Life. A member of PEN America and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Willis’s honors include induction into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent, the Ida B. Wells Institutional Leadership Award from the Center for Black Literature, and the Madam C. J. Walker Legacy Award given by the Hurston/Wright Foundation.

Lois Lowry headshot

LOIS LOWRY is a mother and grandmother and has worked as a photojournalist as well as a writer of fiction. Born in Hawaii, she grew up in Japan, Pennsylvania, and New York, and attended Brown University and the University of Southern Maine. Lowry is twice the recipient of the Newbery Medal, given each year for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature by an American author. Her close to 50 books have been translated into 27 languages and several have been adapted for film and stage. Photo Credit: Howard Corwin

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