PEN Literary Awards

Friday Reads: Our Finalists for the 2018 PEN America Literary Awards

PEN America has announced the finalists for its 2018 PEN America Literary Awards, in the categories of debut fiction, diversity, translation, biography, essay, science and sports writing, as well as for the PEN/Jean Stein Award.  The shortlisted titles include 14 books published by Penguin Random House imprints, as well as two books from PRHPS client publishers.   

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Here is a reading list to be proud of: FICTION 9780399589386SOUR HEART: STORIES by Jenny Zhang (Lenny/Random House) PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT FICTION FINALIST A debut story collection about a community of immigrants who have traded their endangered lives as artists in China and Taiwan for the constant struggle of life at the poverty line in 1990s New York City, Zhang’s exhilarating collection examines the many ways that family and history can weigh us down and also lift us up.   9781616957926SONORA by Hannah Lillith Assadi (Soho Press, a PRHPS client publisher) PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT FICTION FINALIST A fevered, lyrical debut about two young women drawn into an ever-intensifying friendship set against the stark, haunted landscape of the Sonoran desert and the ecstatic frenzy of New York City.   9781101973219WHITE TEARS: A NOVEL by Hari Kunzru  (Vintage/Knopf) PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD FINALIST Ghost story, murder mystery, love letter to American music—WHITE TEARS is all of this and more, a thrilling investigation of race and appropriation in society today.   9780812985870THE CHANGELING: A NOVEL by Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau) PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD FINALIST One man’s thrilling journey through an enchanted world to find his wife, who has disappeared after seemingly committing an unforgiveable act of violence, from the award-winning author of The Devil in Silver and Big Machine.   9781101871614AUGUSTOWN: A NOVEL by Kei Miller  (Pantheon) PEN OPEN BOOK AWARD FINALIST Set in the backlands of Jamaica, AUGUSTOWN is a magical and haunting novel of one woman’s struggle to rise above the brutal vicissitudes of history, race, class, collective memory, violence, and myth.   9781594634369OUT IN THE OPEN: A NOVEL by Jesús Carrasco, translated by Margaret Joll Costa  (Riverhead) PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE FINALIST OUT IN THE OPEN  tells the story of a young boy’s journey through an unnamed, drought-stricken country ruled by violence. A claustrophobic world where names and dates don’t matter, where morals have drained away with the water. In this landscape the boy, not yet a lost cause, has the chance to choose hope and bravery, or to live forever mired in the violence with which he grew up.   9781101973493A HORSE WALKS INTO A BAR: A NOVEL by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen  (Vintage) PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE FINALIST From the author of TO THE END OF THE LAND, the Man Booker International Prize-winning novel about the tragicomic life of a standup comedian.   9781681371528KATALIN STREET by Magda Szabo, translated by Len Rix (NYRB Classics, a PRHPS client publisher) PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE FINALIST From the author of The Door, selected as one of the New York Times “10 Best Books” of the year, this is a heart-wrenching tale about a group of friends and lovers torn apart by the German occupation of Budapest during World War II.   NONFICTION 9780399590566WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World) PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD FINALIST A powerful portrait of the historic Obama era that provocatively combines award-winning journalism with the introspective, searching voice of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ memoir, the National Book Award-winning BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME.   9781594204876GRANT by Ron Chernow (Penguin Press) PEN/BOGRAD WELD PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY FINALIST Pulitzer Prize-winner and biographer of ALEXANDER HAMILTON, George Washington, and John D. Rockefeller, Ron Chernow returns with the definitive biography of Ulysses S. Grant, a grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant’s life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.   9780345804969RICHARD NIXON: THE LIFE by John A. Farrell (Doubleday) PEN/BOGRAD WELD PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY FINALIST From a prize-winning biographer comes the defining portrait of a man who led America in a time of turmoil and left us a darker age. We live today, John A. Farrell shows, in a world Richard Nixon made.   9781101871638LENIN: THE MAN, THE DICTATOR, AND THE MASTER OF TERROR by Victor Sebestyen  (Pantheon) PEN/BOGRAD WELD PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY FINALIST LENIN is a brilliant portrait of a complex and ruthless dictator, while also bringing to light important new revelations about the Russian Revolution, a pivotal point in modern history.   9780143108689THE BOOK OF EMMA REYES: A MEMOIR by Emma Reyes, translated by Daniel Alarcón (Penguin) PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE FINALIST This astonishing memoir of a childhood lived in extreme poverty in Latin America was first published in 2012 in Colombia, where it was greeted as a literary discovery. Its author, whose writing had been encouraged by Gabriel García Márquez, had passed away nearly a decade earlier, and in the letters that comprise her memoir, she describes being an illegitimate child, living in a windowless room with no water or toilet and only ingenuity to keep her and her sister alive. Far from self-pitying, the portrait that emerges from this picaresque yet lucid unraveling of anecdotes inspires awe at the stunning early life of a gifted writer whose talent remained hidden for far too long.   9781594205071BEHAVE: THE BIOLOGY OF HUMANS AT OUR BEST AND WORST by Robert M. Sapolsky (Penguin Press) PEN/E.O. WILSON PRIZE FOR LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING FINALIST From the great neurobiologist and primatologist, a landmark, genre-defining examination of the decisive factors that dictate the boundaries of human behavior, both good and bad. Sapolsky wrestles with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, BEHAVE is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.   9780385536059STING LIKE A BEE: MUHAMMAD ALI VS. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 1966-1971 by Leigh Montville (Doubleday) PEN/ESPN AWARD FOR LITERARY SPORTS WRITING FINALIST An insightful portrait of Muhammad Ali which centers on the cultural and political implications of Ali’s refusal of service in the military—and the key moments in a life that was as high profile and transformative as any in the twentieth century.   9780812989601BONES: BROTHERS, HORSES, CARTELS, AND THE BORDERLAND DREAM by Joe Tone (One World) PEN/ESPN AWARD FOR LITERARY SPORTS WRITING FINALIST A cinematic true-crime story set at the Mexican-American border about two very different brothers whose lives intertwine in an FBI drug investigation and a champion race horse. To view the complete 2018 PEN Literary Awards finalists, click here. The winners will be announced and celebrated at the 2018 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 20, 2018 at the NYU Skirball Center in NYC.  

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21 PRH 2018 PEN Literary Awards Longlisters

PEN America has announced the longlists for its 2018 Literary Awards in the categories of debut fiction, essay, diversity, science, sports writing, biography, and translation. The 21 longlisted titles published by Penguin Random House imprints are presented below, with some of the category winners to be publicly revealed on February 20. 

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    PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction   PEN Open Book Award     PEN Translation Prize    
  • OUT IN THE OPEN by  Jesus Carrasco (Riverhead) Translated from Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
  PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay   PEN/Bograd Weld Prize for Biography
  • GRANT by Ron Chernow (Penguin Press)
   
  • THE KELLOGS: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel (Pantheon)
 
  • THE FAR AWAY BROTHERS: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life by Lauren Markham (Crown)
 
  • MARTIN LUTHER: Renegade and Prophet by Lyndal Roper (Random House)
 
  • LENIN: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror by Victor Sebestyen (Pantheon)
  PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing  
  • THE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—And Us by Richard O. Prum (Doubleday)
 
  • BEHAVE: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky (Penguin Press)
  PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing
  • OFF SPEED: Baseball, Pitching, and the Art of Deception by Terry McDermott (Pantheon)
 
  • STING LIKE A BEE: Muhammad Ali vs. the United States of America, 1966–1971 by Leigh Montville (Doubleday)
 
  • BONES: Brothers, Horses, Cartels, and the Borderland Dream by Joe Tone (One World/Random House)
 
  • IRON AMBITION: My Life with Cus D’Amato by Mike Tyson & Larry “Ratso” Sloman (Blue Rider Press)
 
  • THE CUBS WAY: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse by Tom Verducci (Crown Archetype)
  Warm congratulations to all of our PEN longlisted authors, their editors and publishers. To view the complete 2018 PEN Literary Awards longlists, click here. Finalists for the 2018 PEN awards will be announced in January 2018. The winners will be celebrated at the 2018 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 20, 2018 at the NYU Skirball Center in NYC.

There’s a Book for That: PEN Literary Awards

PEN Center USA, The West Coast center of PEN International, which is the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization, held their 27th annual Literary Awards last Friday, October 27 in Beverly Hills, California. Hosted by Nick Offerman, the ceremony honored Margaret Atwood with a Lifetime Achievement Award and winners in 8 categories were announced. Congratulations to all winners and finalists!

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WINNERS PEN Award for Creative Nonfiction: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul KalanithiWHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR by Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese (Random House) Also a finalist for the Pulitzer, this deeply humane memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal diagnosis attempts to answer the questions: given that all organisms die, what makes a meaningful life? And, as a doctor, what does it mean to hold mortal—and moral—responsibility for another person’s identity? For readers of Atul Gawande and Siddhartha Mukherjee.   PEN Award for Research Nonfiction: The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth LettsTHE PERFECT HORSE: THE DARING U.S. MISSION TO RESCUE THE PRICELESS STALLIONS KIDNAPPED BY THE NAZIS by Elizabeth Letts (Ballantine) The daring behind-Nazi-lines rescue of priceless pedigree horses by American soldiers in the closing days of World War Two—a riveting equine adventure story from the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion.   PEN Award for Young Adult Fiction: Outrun the Moon by Stacey LeeOUTRUN THE MOON by Stacey Lee (Speak) Critically acclaimed author Stacey Lee continues to weave adventure and romance in a novel set during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake: A spot at St. Clare’s School is off limits for all but the wealthiest white girls. However, fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong knows that education is the best way out of Chinatown’s squalor.   FINALISTS The Association of Small Bombs by Karan MahajanTHE ASSOCIATION OF SMALL BOMBS: A NOVEL by Karan Mahajan (Viking) Also a finalist for the National Book Award, The Association of Small Bombs is an expansive and deeply humane novel that is at once groundbreaking in its empathy, dazzling in its acuity, and ambitious in scope.   Cockroaches by Scholastique MukasongaCOCKROACHES by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated by Jordan Stump (Archipelago) Scholastique Mukasonga’s Cockroaches is the story of growing up a Tutsi in Hutu-dominated Rwanda—the story of a happy child, a loving family, all wiped out in the genocide of 1994. A vivid, bittersweet depiction of family life and bond in a time of immense hardship, it is also a story of incredible endurance, and the duty to remember that loss and those lost while somehow carrying on.   For more on these titles visit the collection: PEN Awards 2017 Stay tuned for this week’s Friday Reads wherein we will honor the work of Margaret Atwood.  

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Our 4 2017 PEN Literary Awards Winners

PEN-America-logo-2016PEN America, the U.S. chapter of the world’s leading international literary-human rights organization, has announced the winners in selected categories for its 2017 Literary Awards, with titles published by Penguin Random House imprints winning for nonfiction, diversity, science and sports writing:

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PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction PEN winnersEVICTED: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Crown) PEN Open Book Award WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS by Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead Books) PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award PATIENT H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich (Random House) PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing INDENTURED: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA by Joe Nocero and  Ben Strauss (Portfolio) Warm congratulations to all of our award-winning authors, their editors and publishers. To view the complete winners’ list announced today, click here. Additional 2017 PEN America Literary Awards recipients will be revealed at the PEN Ceremony March 27 at The New School’s Auditorium in NYC. PEN/Jean Stein Book Award KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS by Teju Cole (Random House) THE RETURN: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar (Random House) DARK MONEY: The Hidden History of The Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer (Doubleday) THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday) PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett (Riverhead Books) HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi  (Alfred A Knopf) PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS by Teju Cole (Random House)

Our 16 PEN Literary Awards Shortlisters

PEN-America-logo-2016PEN America has announced the finalists for its 2017 Literary Awards in the categories of debut fiction, nonfiction, essay, diversity, science, sports writing, biography and translation. The 16 shortlisted titles published by Penguin Random House imprints are:

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PEN/Jean Stein Book Award: KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS by Teju Cole (Random House) THE RETURN: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar (Random House) PEN1DARK MONEY: The Hidden History of The Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer (Doubleday) THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday) PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett (Riverhead Books) HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi (Alfred A Knopf) PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction EVICTED: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Crown) CHILDREN OF PARADISE: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran by Laura Secor (Riverhead Books) PEN2BAD NEWS: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship by Anjan Sundaram (Doubleday) PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS by Teju Cole (Random House) PEN Open Book Award WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS by Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead Books) PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award PATIENT H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich (Random House) HOW TO MAKE A SPACESHIP: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of a Private Spaceflight by Julian Guthrie (Penguin Press) PEN3LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren (Alfred A. Knopf) PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing INDENTURED: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA by Joe Nocera and  Ben Strauss (Portfolio) PEN Translation Prize THE VEGETARIAN by Han Kang; translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith (Hogarth/Crown Publishing Group) Warm congratulations to all of our shortlisted authors, their editors and publishers. Of particular note: Random House author Teju Cole is the first writer in PEN America’s history to be a finalist in two categories! To view the complete 2017 PEN Literary Awards shortlists, click here. Most of the winners will be revealed on February 22. The awards for debut fiction and essay as well as those for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the PEN/Nabokov Award will be named live at the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on March 27 at The New School’s Auditorium in NYC. PEN America is the U.S. branch of the world’s leading international literary and human rights organization. International PEN was founded in 1921 in direct response to the ethnic and national divisions that contributed to the First World War. PEN American Center was founded in 1922 and is the largest of the 144 PEN centers in 101 countries that together compose International PEN.