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Announcing 2019 PEN America Literary Awards Longlists

December 12, 2018
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PEN America is thrilled to announce the longlists for the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards. Our awards are juried by panels of esteemed, award-winning writers, editors, booksellers, and critics. Learn about the PEN America Literary Awards judges here.

This year’s awards will confer more than $370,000 to writers and translators whose exceptional literary works were published in 2018. Spanning fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, essays, science writing, sports writing, translation, and more, these longlisted books are bound to help you fulfill your gift giving needs in time for the holiday season. Please note: the PEN/Hemingway list will be announced in January 2019. 

Stay tuned for further announcements about finalists and winners of the following awards: PEN/Jean Stein Book of the Year Award, Nabokov Award for International Literature, PEN/Osterweil Award for Poetry, PEN/Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, PEN/Pels Theater Award, PEN/Magid Award for Excellence in Editing, PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award. 

The finalists for all book awards will be announced in January 2019. The winners will be celebrated at the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 26 at the NYU Skirball Center in NYC. Find out more about the event or purchase tickets here.

 

PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT FICTION ($25,000)

To an author whose debut collection of short stories published in 2018 represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

White Dancing Elephants, Chaya Bhuvaneswar (Dzanc Books)
IndieBound | Amazon

A Lucky Man, Jamel Brinkley (Graywolf Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Some Trick, Helen DeWitt (New Directions)
IndieBound | Amazon

Basements and Other Museums, Vedran Husić (Black Lawrence Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Bloodshot Stories, Jeff P. Jones (Sunshot Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Half Gods, Akil Kumarasamy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
IndieBound | Amazon

Her Adult Life, Jenn Scott (Acre Books)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Island Dwellers, Jen Silverman (Random House)
IndieBound | Amazon

Heads of the Colored People: Stories, Nafissa Thompson-Spires (37 INK, Atria)
IndieBound | Amazon

Bring Out the Dog, Will Mackin (Random House)
IndieBound | Amazon

JUDGES: Chris Abani, Frances Hwang, Gary Lutz

 

PEN OPEN BOOK AWARD ($5,000)

To an exceptional book-length work of any genre by an author of color, published in the United States in 2018.

Cape Verdean Blues, Shauna Barbosa (University of Pittsburgh Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Brother, David Chariandy (Bloomsbury Publishing)
IndieBound | Amazon

All You Can Ever Know, Nicole Chung (Catapult)
IndieBound | Amazon

How to Sit: A Memoir in Stories and Essays, Tyrese Coleman (Mason Jar Press)
Amazon

The Terrible, Yrsa Daley-Ward (Penguin Books)
IndieBound | Amazon

Washington Black, Esi Edugyan (Alfred A. Knopf)
IndieBound | Amazon

Teeth Never Sleep, Ángel García (University of Arkansas Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Heads of the Colored People, Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Atria)
IndieBound | Amazon

Call Me Zebra, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
IndieBound | Amazon

Eye Level, Jenny Xie (Graywolf Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

 

JUDGES: Hanif Abdurraquib, Cristina Arreola, Richie Narvaez, Kevin Nguyen, Elissa Washuta, Sunil Yapa

 

PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE ($3,000)

For a book-length translation of prose from any language into English published in 2018.

Nevada Days, Bernardo Atxaga (Graywolf Press)
Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
IndieBound | Amazon

The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter, Matei Calinescu (NYRB)
Translated from the Romanian by Adriana Calinescu
IndieBound | Amazon

Disoriental, Négar Djavadi (Europa Editions)
Translated from the French by Tina Kover
IndieBound | Amazon

The Stone Building and Other Places, Aslı Erdoğan (City Lights)
Translated from the Turkish by Sevinç Türkkan
IndieBound | Amazon

Mourning, Eduardo Halfon (Bellevue Literary Press)
Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman and Daniel Hahn
IndieBound | Amazon

Moon Brow, Shahriar Mandanipour (Restless Books)
Translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili
IndieBound | Amazon

Love, Hanne Ørstavik (Archipelago Books)
Translated from the Norwegian by Martin Aitken
IndieBound | Amazon

CoDex 1962, Sjón (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
IndieBound | Amazon

Trick, Domenico Starnone (Europa Editions)
Translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri
IndieBound | Amazon

Aetherial Worlds, Tatyana Tolstaya (Alfred A. Knopf)
Translated from the Russian by Anya Migdal
IndieBound | Amazon

JUDGES: Ezra Fitz, Barbara Harshav, Vincent Kling, Marian Schwartz, Ron Slate

 

PEN AWARD FOR POETRY IN TRANSLATION ($3,000)

For a book-length translation of poetry from any language into English published in 2018.

The Shutters, Ahmed Bouanani (New Directions)
Translated from the French by Emma Ramadan
IndieBound | Amazon

Aperture, Jacek Dehnel (Zephyr Press)
Translated from the Polish by Karen Kovacik
IndieBound | Amazon

Revolution Goes Through Walls, Safaa Fathy (SplitLevel Texts)
Translated from the Arabic by Safaa Fathy and Pierre Joris 
IndieBound | Amazon

Today, Juan Gelman (co•im•press)
Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Rose Bradford
IndieBound | Amazon

Autobiography of Death, Kim Hyesoon (New Directions)
Translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi
IndieBound | Amazon

Negative Space, Luljeta Lleshanaku (New Directions)
Translated from the Albanian by Ani Gjika
IndieBound | Amazon

A Certain Plume, Henri Michaux (NYRB)
Translated from the French by Richard Sieburth
IndieBound | Amazon

Pan Tadeusz: The Last Foray in Lithuania, Adam Mickiewicz (Archipelago)
Translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston
IndieBound | Amazon

Stormwarning, Kristín Tómasdóttir (Phoneme Media)
Translated from the Icelandic by K.B. Thors
IndieBound | Amazon

Asymmetry, Adam Zagajewski (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh
IndieBound | Amazon

JUDGES: Sinan Antoon, Ewa Chrusciel, Peter Filkins, Katrine Øgaard Jensen

 

PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAY ($10,000)

For a book of essays published in 2018 that exemplifies the essay form.

We Can’t Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival, Jabari Asim (Picador)
IndieBound | Amazon

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, Alexander Chee (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
IndieBound | Amazon

Ladies Lazarus, Piper J. Daniels (Tarpaulin Sky Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

A Mouth is Always Muzzled, Natalie Hopkinson (The New Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

This Will Be My Undoing, Morgan Jerkins (Harper Perennial)
IndieBound | Amazon

Impossible Owls, Brian Phillips (FSG Originals)
IndieBound | Amazon

Feel Free, Zadie Smith (Penguin Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Against Memoir, Michelle Tea (Feminist Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

MINE: Essays, Sarah Viren (University of New Mexico Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Souls of Yellow Folk, Wesley Yang (W. W. Norton)
IndieBound | Amazon

JUDGES: Garrard Conley, Paul Reyes, Aisha Sabatini Sloan

 

PEN/BOGRAD WELD PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY ($5,000)

For a distinguished biography published in 2018.

Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World, Andrea Barnet (Ecco)
IndieBound | Amazon

Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster, Stephen L. Carter (Henry Holt & Co.)
IndieBound | Amazon

After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet, Julie Dobrow(W. W. Norton)
IndieBound | Amazon

Neruda: The Poet’s Calling, Mark Eisner (Ecco)
IndieBound | Amazon

Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown, Lauren Hilgers (Crown Publishing)
IndieBound | Amazon

We Met in Paris: Grace Frick and Her Life with Marguerite Yourcenar, Joan E. Howard(University of Missouri Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Making Oscar Wilde, Michele Mendelssohn (Oxford University Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Looking for Lorraine, Imani Perry (Beacon Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Chalk: The Art and Erasure of Cy Twombly, Joshua Rivkin (Melville House)
IndieBound | Amazon

Berenice Abbott: A Life in Photography, Julia Van Haaften (W. W. Norton)
IndieBound | Amazon

JUDGES: Nell Irvin Painter, Sam Stephenson, Rachel Syme

 

PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NONFICTION ($10,000)

To honor a distinguished book of general nonfiction published in 2017 or 2018.

One Person, No Vote, Carol Anderson (Bloomsbury Publishing)
IndieBound | Amazon

American Prison, Shane Bauer (Penguin Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Field of Blood, Joanne B. Freeman (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux)
IndieBound | Amazon

Amity and Prosperity, Eliza Griswold (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement, Matthew Horace (Hachette Books)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq, Dunya Mikhail (New Directions Publishing)
IndieBound | Amazon

Dreamers: How Young Indians are Changing the World, Snigdha Poonam (Harvard University Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Girl From Kathmandu, Cam Simpson (Harper)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Making of a Dream, Laura Wides-Muñoz (Harper)
IndieBound | Amazon

In a Day’s Work, Bernice Yeung (The New Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

JUDGES: Nana-Ama Danquah, McKenzie Funk, Syreeta McFadden, Christina Sharpe, Linda Villarosa

 

PEN/E.O. WILSON PRIZE FOR LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING ($10,000)

For a book that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience.

What is Real?, Adam Becker (Basic Books)
IndieBound | Amazon

The World in a Grain, Vince Beiser (Riverhead)
IndieBound | Amazon

Timefulness, Marcia Bjornerud (Princeton University Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Poison Squad, Deborah Blum (Penguin Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Beginning of Everything, Andrea Buchanan (Pegasus Books)
IndieBound | Amazon

Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, Ben Goldfarb (Chelsea Green)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life, David Quammen (Simon & Schuster)
IndieBound | Amazon

Seaweed Chronicles, Susan Hand Shetterly (Algonquin Books)
IndieBound Amazon

Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds, Lauren Slater(Little, Brown and Company)
IndieBound | Amazon

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, Carl Zimmer (Dutton Books)
IndieBound | Amazon

JUDGES: Arianne Shahvisi, Jeff VanderMeer, Christie Wilcox

 

PEN/ESPN AWARD FOR LITERARY SPORTS WRITING ($5,000)

To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2018.

The Away Game: The Epic Search for Soccer’s Next Superstars, Sebastian Abbot (W. W. Norton)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Last Cowboys: A Pioneer Family in the New West, John Branch (W. W. Norton)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism, Howard Bryant(Beacon Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created, Jane Leavy (Harper)
IndieBound | Amazon

Godspeed, Casey Legler (Atria Books)
IndieBound | Amazon

Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times, Mark Leibovich (Penguin Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

The Circuit: A Tennis Odyssey, Rowan Ricardo Phillips (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
IndieBound | Amazon

Limits of the Known, David Roberts (W. W. Norton)
IndieBound | Amazon

Tropic of Football: The Long and Perilous Journey of Samoans to the NFL, Rob Ruck (The New Press)
IndieBound | Amazon

Never Ran, Never Will: Boyhood and Football in a Changing American Inner City, Albert Samaha (Public Affairs)
IndieBound | Amazon

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