PEN American Center has announced the shortlists for its prestigious Literary Awards in categories spanning fiction, non-fiction, poetry, translation, essay, and more.

For the first time, PEN this year issued a longlist for the awards in May, recognizing more authors than ever before and bringing attention to a variety of important works of literature that creative freedom has made possible. After considerable hard work and deliberation, this year’s judges have chosen the below-listed titles for their shortlists.

Last night, PEN celebrated the awards judges at a gathering at Housing Works Bookstore Café in SoHo. This event, occurring on the eve of the shortlist announcement, publicly acknowledged the time and commitment that goes into selecting both the long- and shortlists.
At the event, PEN also named Ron Childress the winner of the biannual PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for his unpublished novel And West Is West. The PEN/Bellwether Prize, founded and entirely funded by novelist Barbara Kingsolver, celebrates an emerging voice whose work addresses issues of social justice. As part of the prize, Childress will receive $25,000 and a publishing contract with Algonquin Books.

Winners of the awards will be announced on July 30th and honored at the PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on September 29th at The New School in New York City.
PEN extends their congratulations to all of the writers, translators, and publishers included in the shortlists below.
Very best, PEN Literary Awards


PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2013—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

Judges: Charles Bock, Jonathan Dee, Fiona Maazel, and Karen Shepard


A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Hogarth), Anthony Marra Brief Encounters With the Enemy (The Dial Press), Saïd Sayrafiezadeh Everybody’s Irish (FiveChapters Books), Ian Stansel Godforsaken Idaho (Little A/New Harvest), Shawn Vestal The People in the Trees (Doubleday), Hanya Yanagihara


PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2013 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

Judges: Geoff Dyer, Stanley Fish, Ariel Levy, and Cheryl Strayed


Forty-One False Starts (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Janet Malcolm Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls (Little, Brown and Company), David Sedaris The Faraway Nearby (Viking Adult), Rebecca Solnit Critical Mass (Doubleday), James Wolcott


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 2013.

Judges: Akiko Busch, Rivka Galchen, and Eileen Pollack


The End of Night (Little, Brown and Company), Paul Bogard Five Days at Memorial (Crown), Sheri Fink High Price (Harper), Carl Hart Surfaces and Essences (Basic Books), Douglas Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander Wild Ones (Penguin Press), Jon Mooallem


PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2013.

Judges: Catherine Chung, Randa Jarrar, and Monica Youn


Duppy Conqueror (Copper Canyon Press), Kwame Dawes Leaving Tulsa (University of Arizona Press), Jennifer Elise Foerster domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press), Ruth Ellen Kocher Cowboys and East Indians (FiveChapters Books), Nina McConigley Ghana Must Go (Penguin Press), Taiye Selasi


PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2013.

Judges: James Atlas, Lisa Cohen, and Wendy Gimbel


Lawrence in Arabia (Doubleday), Scott Anderson Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Linda Leavell Margaret Fuller (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Megan Marshall American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Deborah Solomon A Life of Barbara Stanwyck (Simon & Schuster), Victoria Wilson


PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2013.

Judges: Joel Drucker, Chad Harbach, and Jackie MacMullan


Collision Low Crossers (Little, Brown and Company), Nicholas Dawidoff The Sports Gene (Current), David Epstein League of Denial (Crown Archetype), Mark Fainaru-Wada & Steve Fainaru The Emerald Mile (Scribner), Kevin Fedarko Their Life’s Work (Simon & Schuster), Gary M. Pomerantz


PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ($5,000): To a writer for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2013.

Judges: Mac Barnett, Ted Lewin, and Elizabeth Winthrop


Train (Orchard Books), Elisha Cooper Tea Party Rules (Viking), Ame Dyckman The King of Little Things (Peachtree Publishers), Bil Lepp Crabtree (McSweeney’s McMullens), Jon & Tucker Nichols


PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2013.

Judge: Kimiko Hahn


Even Now: Poems by Hugo Claus (Archipelago), David Colmer Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos (Archipelago), Karen Emmerich & Edmund Keeley Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson by Yosa Buson (Copper Canyon Press), Takako Lento & W.S. Merwin Paul Klee’s Boat by Anzhelina Polonskaya (Zephyr Press), Andrew Wachtel Cut These Words Into My Stone: Ancient Greek Epitaphs (Johns Hopkins University Press), Michael Wolfe


PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2013.

Judges: Ann Goldstein, Becka McKay, and Katherine Silver


An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman (New York Review Books), Elizabeth & Robert Chandler Transit by Anna Seghers (New York Review Books), Margot Bettauer Dembo The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa (Yale University Press), Jeffrey Gray The Emperor’s Tomb by Joseph Roth (New Directions), Michael Hofmann Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (New York Review Books), Joanne Turnbull & Nikolai Formozov


(The following PEN Awards do not have shortlists but are listed below to recognize the participation of those authors who are judging the awards. The winners will be announced later this summer along with the winners for the above book awards.)

PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction ($25,000): To a distinguished living American author of fiction.

Judges: Edwidge Danticat, E.L. Doctorow, and Zadie Smith


PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, Founded by Barbara Kingsolver ($25,000): To an author of an unpublished novel that addresses issues of social justice. The prize also includes a publishing contract with Algonquin Books.

Judges: Terry McMillan, Nancy Pearl, Kathy Pories


PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry ($5,000): To a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work to date represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature.

Judges: Peg Boyers, Toi Derricotte, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips


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. This is the inaugural year of the Award for an Emerging American Playwright.

Judges: John Lithgow, Elizabeth Streb, and Maria Tucci


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, to complete a book-length work-in-progress.

Judges: Kathi Appelt, Johanna Hurwitz, and Padma Venkatraman


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.

Judges: Kostya Kennedy, David Rosenthal, and John Schulian


PEN/Edward and Lily Tuck Award for Paraguayan Literature ($3,000): To a living author of a major work of Paraguayan literature not yet translated into English.

Judges: Idra Novey, Yvette Siegert, and Mark Statman


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

Judges: Esther Allen, Barbara Epler, Sara Khalili, Michael F. Moore*, Lorin Stein, Lauren Wein (*Voting Chair of the PEN/Heim Translation Fund Advisory Council)

PEN will begin accepting submissions for its 2015 Awards later this summer. For a list of all 2015 PEN Awards and information about submission guidelines, please visit For questions about any of the awards, write to For questions about the shortlisted titles, upcoming awards announcements, or advertising in the 2014 Ceremony program, please contact Paul W. Morris, PEN’s Director of Literary Awards, Membership, & Marketing, at