For more information contact:
Alena Graedon, 212-334-1660, ext. 108
Jasmine Davey, 212-334-1660, ext. 126


New York City, August 10, 2011—PEN American Center, the largest branch of the world’s oldest literary and human rights organization, today announced the winners and runners-up of the 2011 PEN Awards, the most comprehensive literary awards program in the country. Next year will mark PEN’s 90th anniversary. For more than 50 of those years, PEN’s Literary Awards program has honored many of the most outstanding voices in literature.

This year, PEN will present 17 awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes—including one that has been revived after a five-year hiatus, the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and three awards offered for the first time ever: the PEN Emerging Writers Awards, the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, and the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing. With the help of its partners and supporters, PEN will confer nearly $150,000 in 2011 to some of the most gifted writers, editors, and translators working today.

Award winners and runners-up will be honored at the 2011 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, at CUNY Graduate Center’s Proshansky Auditorium in New York City.

“PEN’s literary awards program is at the heart of what we do,” said PEN President Anthony Appiah. “What ties all our work together—whether we are defending free expression or supporting translation or sustaining literacy—is the aim of nurturing literary culture. By publicly honoring the writers, editors, and translators who create the works we read, we celebrate the connections between readers and writers that shape our literary community. It is our hope that the awards will sustain writers with our respect and our gratitude, as well as help to bring them to the attention of new readers. We owe a special debt of thanks to the sterling judges, who are themselves distinguished writers, and to the generous donors who endow these awards.”

Alice Quinn, PEN Awards Committee Chair, added: “The PEN Literary Awards convey something very specific and marvelous to the winners and finalists: the high regard of their peers and heroes.”


PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): To a fiction writer whose debut work, published in 2010, represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.* Judges: Susan Cheever, Paul Harding, and Yiyun Li. (*This year, the judges have chosen two winners to share the award.)

Susanna Daniel, Stiltsville (Harper Perennial)

Danielle Evans, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (Riverhead)

Teddy Wayne, Kapitoil (Harper Perennial)

PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): For a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical and biological sciences published in 2010. Award presented for the first time in 2011. Judges for the inaugural award: Rita Charon, Bill McKibben, and Richard Panek.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies (Scribner)

David Abram, Becoming Animal (Pantheon)

PEN/W. G. Sebald Award for a Fiction Writer in Mid-Career ($10,000): To an author who has published at least three significant works of literary fiction. Judges: Jill Ciment, Salvatore Scibona, and Gary Shteyngart.

Aleksandar Hemon

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): A biennial award for a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective published in 2009 or 2010. Judges: Charles R. Morris, Elaine Showalter, and Lee Siegel.

Robert Perkinson, Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire (Metropolitan Books, 2010)

John W. Dower, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq (W. W. Norton & Company, 2010)

Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns (Random House, 2010)

PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards for an American Playwright in Mid-Career and a Master American Dramatist ($7,500): A pair of awards, which honor: a Master American Dramatist and an American Playwright in Mid-Career. Judges: Kenny Leon, Laura Linney, and Thomas Lynch.

American Playwright in Mid-Career
Marcus Gardley

Master American Dramatist
David Henry Hwang

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($5,000): For a book of essays published in 2010 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem of the essay form. Award revived after a five-year hiatus. Judges: André Aciman, Jo Ann Beard, and William H. Gass.

Mark Slouka, Essays from the Nick of Time: Reflections and Refutations (Graywolf Press)

Elif Batuman, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Alex Ross, Listen to This (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): For a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2010. Judges: Madeleine Blais, Buzz Bissinger, and Phillip Lopate.

George Dohrmann, Play Their Hearts Out (Ballantine Books)

PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To a writer whose body of work represents an exceptional contribution to the field. Award presented for the first time in 2011. Judges for the inaugural award: Roy Blount, Jr., Terry McDonell, and David Remnick.

Roger Angell

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2010. Judges: Brad Gooch, Benjamin Taylor, and Amanda Vaill.

Stacy Schiff, Cleopatra: A Life (Little, Brown and Company)

Wendy Moffat, A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E. M. Forster (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Justin Spring, Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry ($5,000): To an emerging American poet of any age showing promise of further literary achievement. Judges: Carolyn Forché, Kimiko Hahn, and Terrance Hayes.

Ishion Hutchinson, Far District (Peepal Tree Press Ltd.)

PEN/Nora Magid Award ($5,000): To a magazine editor whose high literary standards and taste have contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits. Judges: Lan Samantha Chang, Willing Davidson, and Jane Smiley.

Brigid Hughes, Founding Editor of A Public Space

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional work of literature by an author of color published in 2010. Judges: Cornelius Eady, Nam Le, and Lizzie Skurnick.

Manu Joseph, Serious Men (W. W. Norton & Company)

John Murillo, Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher Books)

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship ($5,000): To an author of children’s or young-adult fiction, who has published at least two books, and for whom monetary support is particularly needed to complete a book-length work-in-progress. Judges: Coe Booth, Marina Budhos, and Louis Sachar.

Lucy Frank, Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling, a novel in verse (available for publication)

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2010. Judge: Martha Cooley.

Khaled Mattawa, Adonis: Selected Poems (Yale University Press, The Margellos World Republic of Letters Series)

Jonathan Galassi, Canti by Giacomo Leopardi (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Michael Hofmann, Angina Days by Gunter Eich (Princeton University Press)

Charles Simic, Oranges and Snow by Milan Djordjević (Princeton University Press)

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2010. Judges: Jonathan Cohen, Barbara Harshav, and Sara Khalili.

Ibrahim Muhawi, Journal of an Ordinary Grief by Mahmoud Darwish (Archipelago Books)

David Bellos, Hocus Bogus by Romain Gary, publishing as Émile Ajar (Yale University Press)

Malcolm C. Lyons with Ursula Lyons, The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights (Penguin)

PEN Translation Fund Grants ($3,000): To support the translation of book-length works into English. Judges: David Bellos, Susan Bernofsky, Edwin Frank, Michael F. Moore,* Michael Reynolds, Natasha Wimmer, and Jeffrey Yang. (*Non-voting chair of the PEN Translation Fund Advisory Council.)

Amiri Ayanna, The St. Katharinental Sister Book: Lives of the Sisters of the Dominican Convent at Diessenhofen (from Middle High German)

Neil Blackadder, The Test (Good Simon Korach), a play by Swiss dramatist and novelist Lukas Bärfuss (from German)

Clarissa Botsford, Sworn Virgin, a novel by Albanian writer and filmmaker Elvira Dones (from Italian)

Steve Bradbury, Salsa, a collection of poems by Taiwanese poet Hsia Yü (from Chinese)

Annmarie S. Drury, collection of poems by Tanzanian poet Euphrase Kezilahabi (from Swahili)

Diane Nemec Ignashev, Paranoia, a novel by Belarusian author Viktor Martinovich (from Russian)

Chenxin Jiang, Memories of the Cowshed, a memoir by Chinese author Ji Xianlin (from Chinese)

Hilary B. Kaplan, Rilke Shake, a collection of poetry by Brazilian writer Angélica Freitas (from Portuguese)

Catherine Schelbert, Flametti, or the Dandyism of the Poor, a novel by German writer Hugo Ball (from German)

Joel Streicker, Birds in the Mouth, a collection of short stories by Argentine writer Samanta Schweblin (from Spanish)

Sarah L. Thomas, Turnaround, a literary thriller by Spanish writer Mar Goméz Glez (from Spanish)

PEN Emerging Writers Awards ($1,660): One award each to an up-and-coming fiction writer, nonfiction writer, and poet who has been published in a distinguished literary journal, but who has yet to publish a book-length work. Awards presented for the first time in 2011. Judges for the inaugural awards: Reif Larsen, David Lehman, and Robin Romm.

Smith Henderson (nominated by Hannah Tinti of One Story)

Elliott Holt (nominated by Joel Whitney of Guernica)

David Stuart MacLean (nominated by Ladette Randolph of Ploughshares)

Chester Phillips (nominated by Hattie Fletcher of Creative Nonfiction

Adam Day (nominated by Erica Wright of Guernica)

Brett Fletcher Lauer (nominated by Robert Casper of jubilat)

PEN will begin accepting submissions for 2012 Awards on October 1, 2011. See a list of all 2012 PEN Awards and information about submission guidelines here. For questions about any of the awards, please contact us. For questions about winners or runners-up for the 2011 Awards, please contact Alena Graedon, PEN’s Manager of Literary Awards and Membership.