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 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 for the 2021 cycle open June 1, 2020.

JUDGES: Aimee Bender, Jamel Brinkley, Samantha Hunt, Randa Jarrar, Elissa Schappell

2020 Finalists

The Trojan War Museum, Ayşe Papatya Bucak (W. W. Norton & Company)
Hudson | IndieBound

Sabrina & Corina, Kali Fajardo-Anstine (One World)
Hudson | IndieBound

Home Remedies, Xuan Juliana Wang (Hogarth)
Hudson | IndieBound

Lot, Bryan Washington (Riverhead Books)
Hudson | IndieBound

2020 PEN Robert W Bingham Prize For Debut Short Story Collection Cropped

Featured Winner: Mimi Lok

Last of Her Name, Mimi Lok (Kaya Press)
Hudson | IndieBound

From the judges’ citation: “The stories in Mimi Lok’s Last of Her Name are more than just deeply felt, richly imagined, and darkly comic; they feel necessary. In these pages, we find fractals. The microscopic contains the macro. The collection ranges all over our globe while distilling breathtaking, tiny moments of tremendous significance. Whether we are with estranged siblings over a meal to try to talk, or moving back and forth in time to unearth one family’s personal history, or in the closet with an elderly homeless woman listening in on a younger man’s affluent life, we are moving constantly between different strata—place, age, class, view of the world. But with this range and movement comes astonishing intimacy and emotional acuity, a determination in each instance to locate that which is most true and most human.”

Mimi Lok, Last of Her Name


Previous Winners

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

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)
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)
Runners up:
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)

Eligibility and Submission Guidelines

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