PEN America Literary Awards PEN/Galbraith Award for Nonfiction


This biennial prize, offered only in odd-numbered years, will go to the author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective that illuminates important contemporary issues and that has been published in the United States during the previous two calendar years. The book should possess the qualities of intellectual rigor and importance, perspicuity of expression, and stylistic elegance conspicuous in the writings of author and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, whose four dozen books and countless other publications continue to provide an important and incisive commentary on the American social, intellectual and political scene. An award of $10,000 will be conferred on the author of the winning book.

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].


2019 Finalists

2019 Finalists for the PEN/Galbraith award

Featured Honoree: Bernice Yeung, 2019 Winner

In A Days Work by Bernice Yeung

Bernice Yeung

In a Day’s Work, Bernice Yeung (The New Press)
Hudson Booksellers | IndieBound

Judges: Nana-Ama Danquah, McKenzie Funk, Syreeta McFadden, Christina Sharpe, Linda Villarosa

From the judges’ citation: “‘Harrowing and deeply reported, In a Day’s Work forces readers to see the vulnerable women who too often go unseen, low-paid immigrants who pick produce, clean offices, and care for children and the elderly—and face devastating sexual violence and intimidation in the workplace. With great humanity and care for detail, Bernice Yeung makes clear the frequency and regularity of the abuse and the necessity of the efforts to unionize and support such workers. The book attends to the ways that women of color (from Latin America, South America, and the Caribbean) organize themselves and each other in the face of violence, intimidation, isolation, uncertain immigration status, shame, vulnerability, unfamiliarity with laws, and sexism in labor organizing. “There’s no way to defend yourself. […] “That’s why you deal with everything, all of the harassment. […] You deal with it because you need the job,” says Georgina Hernández, one of In a Day’s Work’s many quiet heroes. Yeung has given us a book that is utterly necessary: sobering in the details and scope but hopeful in all of the ways that immigrant women come together to organize and collectively enact refusal.”






Submissions for the next awards cycle will be accepted from June 1, 2020 – August 15, 2020.

Who is Eligible
  • Eligible:
    • A candidate’s book of nonfiction must have been published in the United States in the two years prior to the Awards cycle year. 
    • Candidates need not be U.S. residents.
    • If you submit a book for this award, you may not submit it for any additional PEN America Awards. Please note that the PEN/Faulkner and PEN/Hemingway Awards are not PEN America awards.
  • NOT eligible:
    • Biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs are not accepted.
    • Self-published books are not eligible.
How to Submit
    • Submissions are only accepted from publishers and literary agents; authors may not submit their own work.
    • Please download and print the award’s Declaration of Eligibility. Complete all fields and have a company executive sign the form in order to confirm the book’s eligibility. If eligible, please mail this form along with one copy of the book to PEN America’s office (see step 3). If the book does not meet all of the eligibility criteria, the book will not be considered for this award.
    • When submissions open for this award, a link to its online submission form will appear 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. Please also submit a verified email address on the submission form; your order cannot be processed without an email address, as this info 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 along with the book’s completed Declaration of Eligibility (see step 1) to the address below between June 1 and August 15, 2020. Please note that we also accept galleys and bound manuscripts.

    PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction
    PEN America
    588 Broadway, Suite 303
    New York, NY 10012

    • Once the submitted book is received and reviewed for eligibility by PEN America, you will be contacted by [email protected] by the end of the year and asked to ship one copy of the book to each of our three awards judges. Please add [email protected] to your safe sender list.

    *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’s 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 2021 PEN Awards; publishers do not need to submit separate fee waivers for each PEN award.