The PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection honors an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut book represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise. The winner receives a cash award of $25,000, a stipend intended to permit a significant degree of leisure in which to pursue a second work of literary fiction.
All winners and finalists for this award are eligible to receive PEN America’s official winner or finalist seal. If you are a publisher of a shortlisted or winning book for this award and are interested in obtaining PEN’s award seal, please write to [email protected].
Current Cycle: 2020
Honoring books published in 2019.
Submissions: June 1 – August 15, 2019
Longlists Announced: December 2019
Shortlists Announced: January 2020
Awards Ceremony: February 2020
Featured Honoree: Will Mackin, 2019 Winner
From the judges’ citation: “When, in his story ‘The Fire Truck,’ Will Mackin describes a man’s whistling as ‘a sound that seemed to penetrate everything and pull it slightly apart,’ he could easily be describing the harrowed poetry of sublimely wracking exactitudes in which he has released these wildly original clarion bursts of storytelling art. Mackin’s fiction situates the reader in the headspace of an elite soldier who records the realities and irrealities of contemporary warfare, as well as the most heartless and heartful eruptions of human nature on both sides, with an audacious, infrared clarity. Bring Out the Dog is the debut of a visionary and a virtuoso.”
(This award was formerly named the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers.)
2019 Will Mackin, Bring Out the Dog (Random House)
2012 Vanessa Veselka, Zazen (Red Lemonade)
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)
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)
Rivka Galchen, Atmospheric Disturbances (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger (Free Press)
2008 Dalia Sofer, The Septembers of Shiraz (Ecco)
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)
Tony D’Souza, Whiteman (Harcourt)
Katherine Min, Secondhand World (Knopf)
2006 Christopher Coake, We’re In Trouble (Harcourt)
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)
Submissions for the 2021 cycle will be open June 1, 2020 — August 15, 2020.
- Writers whose first book is a short story collection.
- The candidate’s first collection of short fiction must have been published by a U.S. trade publisher between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019. Publishers may submit galleys or bound manuscripts for consideration if the book is not yet published.
- 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 fiction.
- 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 is not considered a PEN America Literary Award.
- Self-published books are not eligible.
- PEN America will only accept submissions from publishers or literary agents. One need not be a Member of PEN America to submit. Authors may not submit their own book for this award.
- Please download the Declaration of Eligibility. Complete all fields and have a company executive sign in order to confirm the book’s eligibility. Upload this document along with the rest of your application here.
- Each submission is $85*. If you would like to pay by check, please enter CHECK in the coupon code field at checkout. Checks should be made out to PEN America.
- Submit a verified email address on the submission form. This will be used to later contact you regarding the shipments of your submission. Please note that submission fees are not refundable.
- Mail one copy of the candidate’s book, galley, or bound manuscript to the below address during the open submission period.
PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
- Once the submitted book is received and reviewed for eligibility, [email protected] requests a copy to be shipped to the judges.
*Submission fees may be waived for publishers whose annual net sales are less than $2 million. In order to have your dues waived, please have a company official write a letter on company letterhead stating that your press’ annual net sales are less than $2 million. Please send this letter as an attachment (.doc or .pdf) to [email protected]. Once received, you will be provided with a coupon code to use at check-out in order to have your submission fees waived. One fee waiver may be used for all 2020 PEN America Awards; you do not need to submit a separate fee waiver for each award.