PEN America Literary Awards PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection

The PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection honors an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut book, a collection of short stories, represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise for a second work of literary fiction. The winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize intended to allow significant time and resources with which to pursue subsequent work.

The PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize was established in memory of Robert W. Bingham, who died in 1999 at the age of 33, to commemorate his support of young writers, his love of literature, and his contribution to literary fiction.

All winners, finalists, and longlisters for this award are eligible to receive PEN America’s official emblems. If you are a publisher and interested in obtaining PEN America’s award emblem, please write to [email protected]. For more information, please visit our FAQ page.

Submissions for the 2022 cycle will be open June 1–August 1, 2021.

Featured Winner

Judges: Ben Marcus, Elizabeth McCracken, Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Further News of Defeat: Stories, Michael X. Wang (Autumn House Press)
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From the judges’ citation: “Michael X. Wang’s stories travel from the countryside to the city and back, from China to America, though time and space thrillingly; they are hilarious and tragic, political and domestic, beautiful and brutal, not in turn but miraculously at the same time. On every page technically nervy and beautifully written and startling—in language, character, telling detail—Further News of Defeat is intensely interested in the questions and sorrows and strange jokes of being a human being in the world.”

Further News of Defeat: Stories book cover

2021 Finalists

Alligator & Other Stories, Dima Alzayat (Two Dollar Radio)
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Adults and Other Children: Stories, Miriam Cohen (Ig Publishing)
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You Will Never Be Forgotten: Stories, Mary South (FSG Originals)
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A House Is a Body: Stories, Shruti Swamy (Algonquin Books)
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Further News of Defeat: Stories, Michael X. Wang (Autumn House Press)
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Book covers of 2021 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection finalists

History

Previous Winners

(This award was formerly named the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers.)

2020 Mimi Lok, Last of Her Name (Kaya Press)

2019 Will Mackin, Bring Out the Dog (Random House)

2018 Jenny Zhang, Sour Heart (Lenny)

2017 Rion Amilcar Scott, Insurrections (University of Kentucky Press)

2016 Mia Alvar, In The Country: Stories (Alfred A. Knopf)

2015 Jack Livings, The Dog (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

2014 Shawn Vestal, Godforsaken Idaho (Little A/New Harvest)

2013 Sergio De La Pava, A Naked Singularity (University of Chicago Press)

2012 Vanessa Veselka, Zazen (Red Lemonade)
Runner-Up:
Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station (Coffee House Press)

2011 Susanna Daniel, Stiltsville (Harper)
Danielle Evans, Before You Suffocate your Own Fool Self (Riverhead Trade)
Runner-Up: Teddy Wayne, Kapitoil (Harper Perennial)

2010 Paul Harding, Tinkers (Bellevue Literary Press)
Runners-up:
Terrence Holt, In the Valley of the Kings (W.W. Norton & Co.)
Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, Daughters of the Stone (Thomas Dunne Books)

2009 Donald Ray Pollock, Knockemstiff (Doubleday)
Runners-Up:
Rivka Galchen, Atmospheric Disturbances (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger (Free Press)

2008 Dalia Sofer, The Septembers of Shiraz (Ecco)
Runners-up:
Joshua Ferris, Then We Come to an End (Little, Brown & Co.)
Alex Mindt, The Male of the Species (Delphinium)

2007 Janna Levin, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines (Knopf)
Runners up:
Tony D’Souza, Whiteman (Harcourt)
Katherine Min, Secondhand World (Knopf)

2006 Christopher Coake, We’re In Trouble (Harcourt)
Runners-up:
Tom Bissell, God Lives in St. Petersburg: And Other Stories (Pantheon)
Richard McCann, Mother of Sorrows (Vintage)

2004 Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Will Heinrich, The King’s Evil (Scribner)
Monique Truong, The Book of Salt (Mariner Books)

2002 Manil Suri, The Death of Vishnu (W.W. Norton)
Carolyn Cooke, The Bostons (Mariner)
Matthew Klam, Sam the Cat and other stories (Vintage)

Eligibility

  • PLEASE NOTE: This prize will honor a debut writer’s short story collection, which is also the writer’s first published book.
  • The candidate’s first (and only the first) collection of short fiction must have been published by a U.S. trade publisher between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.
  • Eligible books must be written by a single, living author.
  • Candidates must be U.S. residents; American citizenship is not required.
  • There are no restrictions on the candidate’s age or on the style of their work as long as it is a collection of individual short stories.
  • If you submit a book for this award, you may not submit it for any additional PEN America Literary Award, with the exception of the PEN Open Book Award. Please note that the PEN/Faulkner Award is not considered a PEN America Literary Award.
  • Self-published books are not eligible.

Submission Guidelines

SUBMIT HERE

  • PEN America will only accept submissions from publishers or literary agents. Authors may not submit their own book for this award.
  • On the submission form, please select the award you are submitting to.
  • Please submit verified email addresses on the submission form. Your order cannot be processed without an email address, and this information will be used to later contact you regarding your submission.
  • Upload a PDF file of the galley or final manuscript on the book submissions form. Following pandemic-related protocols, book award submissions will be read as PDF files. Please upload the file saved as BOOKTITLE_AUTHORNAME. For the judges’ convenience, please upload a book file WITHOUT watermarks. Each book file will be kept confidentially between the Literary Awards team and the awards judges. Please note that if a book is longlisted, PEN America may request a physical copy be sent to the judging panel.
  • Upload a high-resolution book jacket photo. This may be used later if the book is longlisted, a finalist, or a winner.
  • Please download the declaration of eligibility. Complete all fields and have the editor or publisher sign to confirm the book’s eligibility. Please upload this document along with the rest of your application on the submission form.
  • Each submission is $85. Please note that due to health concerns surrounding COVID-19, we are asking that all submissions payments be made via credit card. Submission fees are not refundable.
  • Submission fees may be waived for publishers whose annual net sales are less than $2 million. In order to have fees waived, have a company official write a letter on company letterhead stating that the press’s annual net sales are less than $2 million. Please send this letter as a PDF attachment to [email protected]. Do not submit before emailing this document to the Literary Awards team, as they will provide you with an alternative submission method.
  • Once the submitted book is received and reviewed for eligibility by PEN America, it will be passed along to the judges. Please add [email protected] to your address book, as it will be the main point of contact from PEN America.

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