The PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award celebrates writing that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience. The winner receives a cash award of $10,000.
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 the PEN America 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: Diane Ackerman, Rivka Galchen, Priyamvada Natarajan
Featured Winner: Frans de Waal
JUDGES: Diane Ackerman, Rivka Galchen, and Priyamvada Natarajan
From the judges’ citation: “It’s a great pleasure to award this year’s PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award to preeminent primatologist, Frans de Waal, for his keenly observed, insightful, and wonderfully told exploration of the inner lives of animals, which highlights the bounty we share (and don’t share) with other species—both emotionally and psychologically. His lifelong study of primates, in the wild and in zoos, has led him to insights that are scientifically rigorous and not anthropomorphic, yet easy to understand in profoundly human terms. His elegantly written memoir, Mama’s Last Hug, is a book that reminds us that while our homo sapien life may seem very different from that of other animals, we inhabit a kingdom of neighbors.”