NEW YORK—PEN America announced the longlists this week for the 2017 Literary Awards. Honorees include Joyce Carol Oates for her personal and critical reflections on writing, Yaa Gyasi for her debut novel, Teju Cole for his first collection of essays exploring politics, art, and history, and Helen Oyeyemi for her collection of short stories.

This year, PEN America’s longlists celebrated a total of ninety books from 2015 and 2016 in time for the holiday season. From Monday, December 5 through Friday, December 9, PEN America published the nine book award longlists in partnership with Mashable. The PEN/ Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award were announced Monday, followed by the longlists for the PEN Open Book Award and PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing on Tuesday. The longlists for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay and the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography were announced on Wednesday. The longlists for PEN’s two translation awards—the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation and the PEN Translation prize—were announced on Thursday, and the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award longlist was announced on Friday.

“In a time of political upheaval, people are looking to literature for solace and for answers. The PEN America Literary Awards grant us an opportunity to celebrate that which we support: the free and open exchange of ideas and perspectives,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN America. “With the announcement of these longlisted titles, we recognize exceptional writers whose work contributes to a deeper understanding of the diversity of human experiences—a contribution that is more essential than ever at a time of polarization.”

Finalists for all book awards will be announced on January 18. The winners for all 2017 awards will be announced on February 22, except those for the awards for debut fiction and essay, as well as those for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in Literature, which will be announced live at the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on March 27 at The New School’s John L. Tishman Auditorium in Manhattan.

For over 50 years, the PEN America Literary Awards have honored many of the most outstanding voices in literature across such diverse fields as fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, and drama. With the help of its partners and supporters, PEN America will confer 19 distinct awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes in 2017, awarding nearly $315,000 to writers and translators.

All final longlists can be found here:


PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2016—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise of a second work of literary fiction.

JUDGES: Jami Attenberg, Tanwi Nandini Islam, Randall Kenan, Hanna Pylväinen, and Akhil Sharma

Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky), Rion Amilcar Scott
We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books/UNC Wilmington), Clare Beams
The Mothers (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House), Brit Bennett
The Wangs vs. the World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Jade Chang
When Watched (Penguin Books/Penguin Random House), Leopoldine Core
Hide (Bloomsbury), Matthew Griffin
Homegoing (Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House), Yaa Gyasi
Tuesday Nights in 1980 (Gallery/Scout Press/Simon & Schuster), Molly Prentiss
Hurt People (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux), Cote Smith
Wreck and Order (Hogarth/Crown Publishing), Hannah Tennant-Moore

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2016 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

JUDGES: Eula Biss, Kiese Laymon, and Paul Steiger

The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood (Graywolf Press), Belle Boggs
Known and Strange Things (Random House), Teju Cole
Against Everything (Pantheon Books/Penguin Random House), Mark Greif
A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and The Mind (Simon & Schuster), Siri Hustvedt
The Girls in My Town (University of New Mexico Press), Angela Morales
Soul at the White Heat (Ecco Press/HarperCollins), Joyce Carol Oates
Becoming Earth (Red Hen Press), Eva Saulitis
Ethics in the Real World (Princeton University Press), Peter Singer
Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change (Scribner/Simon & Schuster), Andrew Solomon
Hungry Heart (Atria Books/ Simon & Schuster), Jennifer Weiner

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): To an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction published in 2015 or 2016, possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues.

JUDGES: Julia Angwin, Rich Benjamin, Jeff Biggers, Charles Duhigg, Marie Mutsuki Mockett, Lizzie Stark, and Jessica Valenti

Drinking in America: Our Secret History (Twelve/Hachette Book Group), Susan Cheever
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown/Penguin Random House), Matthew Desmond
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (Viking/Penguin Random House), Nancy Isenberg
Strangers Drowning: Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Urge to Help (Penguin Press/Penguin Random House), Larissa MacFarquhar
The Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (W.W. Norton & Company), Patrick Phillips
Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic (Bloomsbury Press), Sam Quinones
The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Andrés Reséndez
The Train to the Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II (Scribner/Simon & Schuster), Jan Jarboe Russell
Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House), Laura Secor
Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship (Doubleday/Penguin Random House), Anjan Sundaram

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): For a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical or biological sciences published in 2016.

JUDGES: Emily Anthes, Robin Marantz Henig, Emma Marris, and Amy Ellis Nutt

The Genius of Birds (Penguin Press/Penguin Random House), Jennifer Ackerman
What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins (Scientific American/ Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Jonathan Balcombe
Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets (Random House), Luke Dittrich
Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight over Controlling Nature (Crown/Penguin Random House), Jordan Fisher Smith
Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History (Basic Books/Perseus Book Group), Dan Flores
How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of a Private Spaceflight (Penguin Press/ Penguin Random House), Julian Guthrie
Lab Girl (Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House), Hope Jahren
The Gene: An Intimate History (Scribner/Simon & Schuster), Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Glass Universe (Viking/Penguin Random House), Dava Sobel
The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World’s Most Coveted Fish (Scribner/Simon & Schuster), Emily Voigt

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2016.

JUDGES: Jay Caspian Kang, Juliet Macur, and David Owen

Boys Among Men: How the Prep-to-Pro Generation Redefine the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution (Crown Archetype/Penguin Random House), Jonathan Abrams
American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner’s Legendary Rise (Hachette Books), Joe Drape
The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers (HarperCollins), Michael Leahy
Catching the Sky (37 Ink/Simon & Schuster), Colten Moore with Keith O’Brien
Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA (Portfolio/Penguin Random House), Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss
Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Jeff Pearlman
Playing Through the Whistle: Steel, Football, and an American Town (Atlantic Monthly Press/Grove Atlantic), S.L. Price
Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X (Basic Books/Perseus Books Group), Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith
Fastpitch: The Untold History of the Softball and the Women Who Made the Game (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster), Erica Westly
Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop and Street Basketball (Columbia University Press), Onaje X.O. Woodbine

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2016.

JUDGES: Ishmael Beah, Major Jackson, and Bich Minh Nguyen

Blackass (Graywolf Press), A. Igoni Barrett
Chronicle of a Last Summer: A Novel of Egypt (Tim Duggan Books/Crown Publishing Group), Yasmine El Rashidi
The Book of Memory (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux), Petina Gappah
The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books/University of Maine at Farmington), Jamaal May
Behold the Dreamers (Random House), Imbolo Mbue
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House), Helen Oyeyemi
Look (Graywolf Press), Solmaz Sharif
Problems (Coffee House Press), Jade Sharma
Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press), Safiya Sinclair
Blackacre (Graywolf Press), Monica Youn

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2016.

JUDGES: Yunte Huang, Joyce Johnson, and Evelyn C. White

Jean Cocteau: A Life (Yale University Press), Claude Arnaud, translated from the French by Lauren Elkin & Charlotte Mandell
A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century (Bellevue Literary Press), Jerome Charyn
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright/W.W. Norton & Company), Ruth Franklin
Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart (Alfred A. Knopf), Claire Harman
Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux), Joe Jackson
A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley (W.W. Norton & Company), Jane Kamensky
Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer (HarperCollins), Arthur Lubow
Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White (HarperCollins), Michael Tisserand
American Luthier: The Art and Science of the Violin (ForeEdge/University Press of New England), Quincy Whitney
Louise Nevelson: Light and Shadow (Thames & Hudson), Laurie Wilson

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2016.

JUDGES: Jennifer Grotz, Kyoo Lee, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips

Pearl: A New Verse Translation (Liveright/W.W. Norton & Company) translated from the Middle English by Simon Armitage
Abyss by Ya Hsien (Zephyr Press) translated from the Chinese by John Balcom
Voronezh Notebooks by Osip Mandelstam (New York Review of Books) translated from the Russian by Andrew Davis
Building the Barricade by Anna Swir (Tavern Books) translated from the Polish by Piotr Florczyk
Algaravias by Waly Salomao (Ugly Duckling Presse) translated from the Portuguese by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi
Preludes and Fugues by Emmanuel Moses (Oberlin College Press) translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker
Tale of Ise (Penguin Classics) translated from the Japanese by Peter MacMillan
In Praise of Defeat: Poems by Abdellatif Laâbi (Archipelago Books) translated from the French by Donald Nicholson Smith
Absolute Solitude: Selected Poems by Dulce Maria Loynaz (Archipelago Books) translated from the Spanish by James O’Connor
Twenty Girls to Envy Me: Selected Poems from Orit Gidali (University of Texas Press) translated from the Hebrew by Marcela Sulak

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2016.

JUDGES: Mara Faye Lethem, Elizabeth Lowe, Jeremy Tiang, Annie Tucker, and Dennis Washburn

Confessions by Rabee Jaber (New Directions) translated from the Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid
The Fox Was Ever the Hunter by Herta Muller (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company) translated from the German by Philip Boehm
Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
Between Life and Death by Yoram Kaniuk (Restless Books) translated from the Hebrew by Barbara Harshav
One Hundred and Twenty-One Days by Michèle Audin (Deep Vellum Publishing) translated from the French by Christiana Hills
Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap (Archipelago Books) translated from the German by Tess Lewis
Justine by Iben Mondrup (Open Letter Books) translated from the Danish by Kerri A. Pierce
The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke (Grove Press) translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas
The Vegetarian by Han Kang (Hogarth/Crown Publishing) translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith
Limbo Beirut by Hilal Chouman (University of Texas Press) translated from the Arabic by Anna Ziajka Stanton


(The following PEN America Awards do not have longlists.)

PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in Literature ($50,000): To a writer of any genre any any nationality for their body of work.

JUDGES: Aravind Adiga, Ayad Akhtar, Robin Coste Lewis, Jessica Hagedorn, and Thrity Umrigar

PEN/Jean Stein Book Award ($75,000): To recognize a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact.

JUDGES: The judges for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award will serve anonymously and be announced with the winner at the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on March 27.

PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History ($10,000): For an unpublished literary work of nonfiction that uses oral history to illuminate an event, individual, place or movement.

JUDGES: Gaiutra Badhadur, Helen Epstein, and Dan Kennedy

PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers ($2,000 to 12 Writers): Recognizing twelve emerging fiction writers for their debut story published in 2016.

JUDGES: Marie-Helene Bertino, Kelly Link, and Nina McConigley

PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards ($7,500 and $2,500): Three awards which honor a Master American Dramatist, American Playwright in Mid-Career, and Emerging American Playwright.

JUDGES: Oskar Eustis, Michael C. Hall, and Young Jean Lee

PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry ($5,000): For a new and emerging American poet with the promise of further literary achievement.

JUDGES: Camille Dungy, Ada Limón, and Patrick Phillips

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship ($5,000): For an author of children’s or young-adult fiction to complete a book-length work-in-progress.

JUDGES: Margarita Engle, Sharyn November, and Polly Shulman

PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To a writer for a lifetime of writing about sports and its dimensions of character and action.

JUDGES: Pete Hamill, Sally Jenkins, and Michael Sokolove

PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing : ($2,500) To a magazine editor whose high literary standards and taste have, throughout his or her career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits.

JUDGES: Michael Dumanis, David L. Ulin, and Caitlin McKenna

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants ($2,000-$4,000): To support the translation of book-length works into English.

JUDGES: Tynan Kogane, Edna McCown, Fiona McCrae, Canaan Morse, Idra Novey, Allison Markin Powell, Antonio Romani, Chip Rossetti, Shabnam Nadiya, and Ross Ufberg


The 2017 PEN America Literary Awards are made possible through the generous support of PEN’s many donors: the family of Robert W. Bingham, Fernanda Dau Fisher and the family of Robert J. Dau, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Carl Spielvogel, ESPN, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jean Stein, The Kaplen Foundation, Priscilla and Michael Henry Heim, Phyllis Naylor, the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater, the Estate of Rochelle Ratner, Dr. Edward O. Wilson and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, James and Cathy Stone, Jacqueline Bograd Weld and Rodman L. Drake, the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation, and Gerald Weales.

PEN America will begin accepting submissions for its 2018 Awards in the spring of 2017. For a list of all 2018 PEN America Literary Awards and information about submission guidelines, please visit For questions about any of the awards, write to [email protected]. For questions about the longlisted titles, upcoming awards announcements, or advertising in the 2017 Ceremony program, please contact Literary Awards: [email protected]


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Arielle Anema, Literary Awards Manager : 646-779-4813, [email protected]

Sarah Edkins, Deputy Director for Communications: 646-779-4830, [email protected]