(New York, NY) — Today PEN America announced the Longlists for its Literary Awards, spanning 11 awards and naming more than 100 writers and translators, celebrating the year’s most extraordinary new voices and living legends of literature. Sixty writer-judges selected the Longlists, made up of categories including the novel, short story collection, translation, poetry, science writing, essay, biography, and more. Finalists for the PEN America Literary Awards will be named in early 2022 and nominees include Hanif Abdurraquib, Rivka Galchen, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Linda Rui Feng, Torrey Peters, Kristen Radtke, Salman Rushdie, George Saunders, and Rebecca Solnit.


“These Longlists are a ‘who’s who’ of the most exceptional writers of our generation and the next,” said Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, senior director of literary programs at PEN America. “Reading their names evokes memories of some of our all-time favorite works that brought us comfort during this strange year.”

In an era of publishing consolidation, more than half (53 percent) of the longlisted titles come from independent and university presses. Almost a quarter come from small independent publishers (12 percent) and university presses (nine percent).

“Our Longlists highlight the groundbreaking and vital work produced by independent publishers, many of which continue to face significant challenges in today’s publishing market,” Shariyf said. “These publishers are often leaders in promoting diverse voices and stories not just along racial and gender lines, but showcasing cultural and geographic diversity, too. The Awards ceremony allows writers and publishers to gather with readers and champions of creative free expression and celebrate the power of storytelling as an inclusive literary community.”

The Longlist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, a $75,000 prize honoring a groundbreaking book of the year of any genre, features a remarkable range of writers at all career stages. Dantiel W. Moniz’s debut short story collection and Phillip B. Williams’ second poetry collection appear alongside novels by Joy Williams (whose first novel was published in 1973) and Percival Everett (first published in 1983), as well as Gayl Jones’s first novel since 1999 (Jones’s first novel was published in 1975). Phillip B. Williams is longlisted for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection, and Moniz is longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection.

Celebrating the art of the essay, the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award recognizes an exceptional collection of work by a seasoned writer. The 2022 Longlist reflects the great versatility and energy of the essay form, showcasing a group of writers at the peak of their powers, including Ann Patchett, Teju Cole, and André Aciman. Their subjects examine our relationships to art and politics, family and faith, and ultimately, to each other.

As publishing reckons with its history of inequity, the PEN Open Book Award, conferred annually to a writer of color, champions literary voices that do not always receive wide media coverage or recognition. Three of the writers on this year’s PEN Open Book Award Longlist are also longlisted for other prizes: Amelia Pang for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction, and Daisy Hernández and Elissa Washuta for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award.

The ten books longlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction represent new and important engagement with issues that have been laid bare by the pandemic and the movement for racial justice over the last two years. Topics span from the legacies of slavery and discrimination to the human cost of cheap goods in the global economy.

“These writers provide new ways of understanding the cultural, social, and political forces that we are all grappling with today,” said Donica Bettanin, program director of the PEN America Literary Awards. “Their works challenge traditional ways of thinking, reveal untold stories, and provide a roadmap for a more just society. More than nonfiction, these works are a call to action.”

The PEN Translation Prize has been given annually since 1963, making it PEN America’s longest-running literary award. As translators campaign to secure greater recognition of their work, PEN America is proud to celebrate their vital role in world literature. The 2022 Longlists for the Translation Prize and the Poetry in Translation Award include works translated from Arabic, Chinese, Danish, French, German, Korean, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Polish, and Romanian.

The finalists for the Literary Awards will be announced in late January 2022, with an in-person ceremony in late February, which will feature live announcements of the winners. Publishers and agents submitted over 1,800 works for consideration, which were reviewed and judged by independent panels. 

Dubbed “the Oscars, but for books” by comedian Seth Myers, the 2022 PEN America Literary Awards will confer over $350,000 in prize money. Judges for this year’s program include Ling Ma, Chanel Miller, Jonathan Safran Foer, Vinson Cunningham, Lois Lowry, Marilynne Robinson; and many more. 

Learn about the complete cohort of 2022 Literary Awards judges here.