(New York, N.Y.)–  PEN America today announced the winners of the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, showcasing 12 writers whose debut short stories stood out for their craft, originality, and urgency in the past year.

The winning stories will be published in the annual anthology Best Debut Short Stories: The PEN America Dau Prize from Catapult Books. “The publication of a debut story can be a launching pad for a writer’s career,” said Donica Bettanin, director of PEN America’s Literary Awards program. “We’re thrilled to celebrate these authors and the vibrant magazines, journals, and websites that brought their work to light.”

Now in its sixth year, the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers annually recognizes 12 emerging writers with $2,000 each for a debut short story published in a literary magazine, journal, or cultural website. Previous winners who have gone on to enjoy wide readership and book publication include Crystal Hana Kim (2017), Celeste Mohammed (2018), Doug Henderson (2019) and Willa C. Richards (2020). The prize is generously supported by the family of the late Robert J. Dau, whose commitment to the literary arts has made him a fitting namesake for this career-launching prize.

This year’s judges — Sabrina Orah Mark, Emily Nemens, and Deesha Philyaw — selected 12 stories from dynamic literary publications as winners of the 2022 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. The winning authors are:

PEN America previously announced the finalists for this year’s individual book prizes and recipients of the 2022 career achievement awards. The awards will be conferred as part of the PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony to be held at New York’s Town Hall on Monday, February 28.

Since 1963, the PEN America Literary Awards have honored many of the most outstanding voices in literature across diverse genres, including fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, and drama. With the help of our partners, PEN America confers over 20 distinct awards, fellowships, grants and prizes each year, and will confer over $350,000 to writers and translators at the February 28 Ceremony.