2015 PEN Literary Awards List Of Winners

whalesPEN American Center today announced the longlists for the 2015 PEN Literary Awards, including titles by writer and photographer Teju Cole, debut novelist Phil Klay, journalist Elizabeth Kolbert, poet Claudia Rankine, and many more.  This announcement comes earlier this year than in recent award cycles so as to bring more immediate attention to a wide array of deserving titles published in 2014, representing a diverse spectrum of talent.

“For some writers, being recognized on PEN’s longlist can be a catalytic event, sparking attention and awakening audiences to a new and important voice,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN American Center. “We are proud to welcome all of these works into PEN’s long tradition of literary excellence, offering recognition to a panoramic breadth of works by writers both highly decorated and yet undiscovered, from publishers both established and upstart.  The PEN Awards become more competitive every year, and we congratulate each author for achieving this distinction.”

For more than 50 years, the PEN Literary Awards have honored many of the most outstanding voices in literature across such diverse fields as fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, and drama. With the help of its partners and supporters, PEN will confer 19 distinct awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes in 2015, awarding nearly $150,000 to writers and translators.

“PEN’s Literary Awards Committee is again pleased to have our roster of prestigious, life-changing awards in the hands of judges who represent the full spectrum of voices and genres in literature today,” said Monique Truong, chair of PEN’s Literary Awards Committee. “We are indebted to the writers and editors on all of the panels whose impeccable literary discernment is clear from the remarkable titles on the longlist. As a Committee, we remain dedicated to casting the widest possible net when rewarding merit, a commitment that is reflected in our distinguished, diverse, and inclusive roster of judges.”

The shortlists for 2015 PEN Literary Award book nominations will be released on April 15. The complete list of winners for all 2015 PEN Literary Awards will be announced on May 13, followed by a ceremony honoring the winners on Monday, June 8 at The New School’s Auditorium in New York.

The complete list of longlisted titles is available here


PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2014—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

JUDGES: Caroline Fraser, Katie Kitamura, Paul La Farge, and Victor LaValle


The UnAmericans (W. W. Norton & Company), Molly Antopol

Ruby (Hogarth), Cynthia Bond

Black Moon (Hogarth), Kenneth Calhoun

Redeployment (Penguin Press), Phil Klay

Ride Around Shining (Harper), Chris Leslie-Hynan

The Dog (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Jack Livings

The Wives of Los Alamos (Bloomsbury), TaraShea Nesbit

The Heaven of Animals (Simon & Schuster), David James Poissant

Love Me Back (Doubleday), Merritt Tierce

Time of the Locust (Atria Books), Morowa Yejidé

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2014 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

JUDGES: Diane Johnson, Dahlia Lithwick, Vijay Seshadri, and Mark Slouka


Moral Imagination (Princeton University Press), David Bromwich

Theater of Cruelty (New York Review Books), Ian Buruma

Loitering (Tin House Books), Charles D’Ambrosio

Surrendering Oz (Etruscan Press), Bonnie Friedman

The Hard Way on Purpose (Scribner), David Giffels

Where Have You Been? (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Michael Hofmann

The Empathy Exams (Graywolf Press), Leslie Jamison

Sidewalks (Coffee House Press), Valeria Luiselli

Limber (Sarabande Books), Angela Pelster

You Feel So Mortal (University Of Chicago Press), Peggy Shinner

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 2014.

JUDGES: Sue Halpern, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Carl Zimmer


War of the Whales (Simon & Schuster), Joshua Horwitz

How We Got to Now (Riverhead Books), Steven Johnson

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons (Little, Brown and Company), Sam Kean

The Sixth Extinction (Henry Holt and Co.), Elizabeth Kolbert

Small (Dartmouth College Press), Catherine Musemeche MD

The Age of Radiance (Scribner), Craig Nelson

Proof (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Adam Rogers

The Copernicus Complex (Scientific American/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Caleb Scharf

Arrival of the Fittest (Current), Andreas Wagner

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): To an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues which has been published in 2013 or 2014.

JUDGES: Andrew Blechman, Paul Elie, Azadeh Moaveni, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, and Paul Reyes


Our Declaration (Liveright), Danielle Allen

All the Truth Is Out (Alfred A. Knopf), Matt Bai

League of Denial (Crown Archetype), Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru

Five Days at Memorial (Crown), Sheri Fink

The Big Truck That Went By (Palgrave Macmillan), Jonathan M. Katz

This Changes Everything (Simon & Schuster), Naomi Klein

The Bill of the Century (Bloomsbury), Clay Risen

The Impulse Society (Bloomsbury), Paul Roberts

A Chance to Win (Henry Holt and Co.), Jonathan Schuppe

Powers of Two (Eamon Dolan Books), Joshua Wolf Shenk

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2014.

JUDGES: R. Erica Doyle, W. Ralph Eubanks, and Chinelo Okparanta


An Unnecessary Woman (Grove Press), Rabih Alameddine

Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Charles M. Blow

Team Seven (Doubleday), Marcus Burke

Every Day Is for the Thief (Random House), Teju Cole

An Untamed State (Black Cat), Roxane Gay

Streaming (Coffee House Press), Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead Books), Marlon James

Kinder Than Solitude (Random House), Yiyun Li

Citizen (Graywolf Press), Claudia Rankine

The Fateful Apple (Urban Poets and Lyricists), Venus Thrash

The City Son (Soho Press), Samrat Upadhyay

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2014.

JUDGES: Emily Bernard, Nicholas Fox Weber, and Jon Meacham


Updike (Harper), Adam Begley

Isabella (Nan A. Talese), Kirstin Downey

Rebel Yell (Scribner), S. C. Gwynne

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace (Scribner), Jeff Hobbs

John Quincy Adams (Harper), Fred Kaplan

Strange Glory (Alfred A. Knopf), Charles Marsh

Becoming Richard Pryor (Harper), Scott Saul

The Queen’s Bed (Sarah Crichton Books), Anna Whitelock

Victoria (Penguin Press), A. N. Wilson

Piero’s Light (Pegasus Books), Larry Witham

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2014.

JUDGES: Rich Cohen, George Dohrmann, and Jonathan Mahler


Boy on Ice (W. W. Norton & Company), John Branch

Why Football Matters (Penguin Press), Mark Edmundson

Black Noon (Thomas Dunne Books), Art Garner

All Fishermen are Liars (Simon & Schuster), John Gierach

Ping-Pong Diplomacy (Scribner), Nicholas Griffin

Bird Dream (Penguin Press), Matt Higgins

Thrown (Sarabande Books), Kerry Howley

Deep (Eamon Dolan Books), James Nestor

Life Is a Wheel (Scribner), Bruce Weber

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2014.

JUDGE: Ana Božičević


Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon (Action Books), Don Mee Choi

Love Poems by Bertolt Brecht (Liveright), David Constantine & Tom Kuhn

I Am the Beggar of the World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Eliza Griswold

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Juana Inés de la Cruz (W. W. Norton & Company), Edith Grossman

Where Are the Trees Going? by Venus Khoury-Ghata (Curbstone Books), Marilyn Hacker

Breathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Pierre Joris

Guantanamo by Frank Smith (Les Figues Press), Vanessa Place

Skin by Tone Škrjanec (Tavern Books), Matthew Rohrer and Ana Pepelnik

Diana’s Tree by Alejandra Pizarnik (Ugly Duckling Presse), Yvette Siegert

Autoepitaph by Reinaldo Arenas (University Press of Florida), Kelly Washbourne

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2014.

JUDGES: Heather Cleary, Lucas Klein, Tess Lewis, and Allison Markin Powell


Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz (Yale/ Margellos), Danuta Borchardt

The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla (New York Review Books), Peter Bush

The Symmetry Teacher by Andrei Bitov (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Polly Gannon

The Master of Confessions by Thierry Cruvellier (Ecco), Alex Gilly

The Man Who Loved Dogs by Leonardo Padura (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Anna Kushner

I Ching (Viking Books), John Minford

Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt (Two Lines Press), Denise Newman

Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa (Deep Vellum Publishing), Samantha Schnee

Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye (Two Lines Press), Jordan Stump

The Woman Who Borrowed Memories by Tove Jansson (New York Review Books), Thomas Teal and Silvester Mazzarella


(The following PEN Awards do not have longlists. The winners will be announced on May 13.)

PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize ($10,000) For a promising young writer under the age of 35 for an unpublished work of nonfiction that addresses a global and/or multicultural issue.

JUDGES: John Freeman, Roxane Gay, and Cristina Henríquez

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.

JUDGES: Kathleen Chalfant, Ellen McLaughlin, and Adam Rapp

PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry ($5,000): For an emerging American poet showing promise of further literary achievement.

JUDGES: Marie Howe, Mary Szybist, and Craig Morgan Teicher

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship ($5,000): For an author of children’s or young-adult fiction to complete a book-length work-in-progress.

JUDGES: Viola Canales, Selene Castrovilla, and Elizabeth Levy

PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): For a writer whose body of work represents an exceptional contribution to the field.

JUDGES: Mike Barnicle, Franklin Foer, and Selena Roberts

PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing ($2,500): For a magazine editor whose high literary taste has, throughout his or her career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits.

JUDGES: Christopher Castellani, Carmela Ciuraru, and Bill Clegg

PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation: For a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of his or her work.

JUDGES: Selected by the PEN Translation Committee

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

JUDGES: Esther Allen, Mitzi Angel, Peter Blackstock, Howard Goldblatt, Sara Khalili, Michael F. Moore*, Declan Spring, and Alex Zucker (*Voting Chair of the PEN/Heim Advisory Board)

The 2015 PEN Literary Awards are made possible through the generous support of PEN’s many donors: Amazon.com, the family of Robert W. Bingham, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Carl Spielvogel, Bernard Malamud, ESPN, Gay Talese, Gerald Weales, Harrison Ford, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The Kaplen Foundation, Barbara Kingsolver, Priscilla and Michael Henry Heim, Phyllis Naylor, the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater, the Estate of Rochelle Ratner, Dr. Edward O. Wilson and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, James and Cathy Stone, the family and friends of Ralph Manheim, Jacqueline Bograd Weld and Rodman L. Drake, and Univision.

PEN will begin accepting submissions for its 2016 Awards later this summer.

For a list of all 2016 PEN Awards and information about submission guidelines, please visit www.pen.org/awards.

For questions about any of the awards, write to [email protected]. For questions about the longlisted titles, upcoming awards announcements, or advertising in the 2015 Ceremony program, please contact Paul W. Morris, PEN’s Director of Literary Programs, at [email protected].