New York City, December 15, 2010—PEN American Center, the largest branch of the world’s oldest literary and human rights organization, announced today the creation of the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing, established to recognize writers whose body of work demonstrates distinctive literary character and leadership in the field.

The award represents the second partnership between PEN and ESPN, the world’s leading purveyor of sports journalism through its television networks, web site, and magazine. In May, PEN announced the creation of the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, a $5,000 prize that honors one nonfiction work each year. At PEN’s 2010 Literary Awards Ceremony in October, the award was presented to Marshall Jon Fisher for A Terrible Splendor: Three Extraordinary Men, a World Poised for War, and the Greatest Tennis Match Ever Played.

“We have been enormously gratified by the response to the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing,” said Steve Isenberg, Executive Director of PEN American Center. “Readers, writers, editors—so many people expressed their delight that PEN would honor this great tradition in American writing. We’re thrilled now to honor not only the best new writing in the field, but also those writers who have set the standards for excellence in the genre.”

“ESPN has always placed a high a value on the written word and the profound impact it can have,” said John Skipper, ESPN Executive Vice President, Content. “The PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing is an opportunity for ESPN to honor the skill, imagination, and storytelling of deserving sports writers.”

The PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to one living American or U.S.-based writer each year. The winner will be decided by a panel of three judges, who will consider letters of nomination submitted by PEN Members to PEN’s Awards Committee. Eligible candidates may work in short- or long-form prose, but must be long-time contributors to the field. The inaugural award will be conferred in the fall of 2011 at the PEN Literary Awards Ceremony in New York City.

The PEN Literary Awards are the most comprehensive in the United States. Each year, with the help of its partners and supporters, PEN confers more than $100,000 to writers and translators. More information about the PEN Awards can be found at

PEN American Center is the largest of the 141 centers of International PEN, the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. International PEN was founded in 1921 to dispel national, ethnic, and racial tensions and to promote understanding among all countries. PEN American Center, founded a year later, works to advance literature, to defend free expression, and to foster international literary fellowship. Its 3,400 distinguished members carry on the achievements in literature and advancement of human rights of such past members as James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Arthur Miller, Marianne Moore, Eugene O’Neill, Susan Sontag, and John Steinbeck. To learn more about the PEN American Center, please visit:

Alena Graedon, (212) 334-1660 ext. 108
Stefanie Simons, (212) 334-1660 ext. 122