PEN announces award-winners and shortlists

PEN announces award-winners and shortlists
Sheri Fink is a 2015 PEN Literary Award winner for her book "Five Days At Memorial: Life And Death In A Storm-Ravaged Hospital" (Jen Dessinger / Crown)

Today the New York branch of PEN announced winners and shortlists for its 2015 Literary Awards. Winners include Sheri Fink, whose nonfiction book "Five Days at Memorial" has already received a number of prizes, Tin House editor Rob Spillman, and newcomer Saeed Jones for his debut poetry collection "Prelude to Bruise."

Prizes that announced shortlists rather than winners will be revealed  at a ceremony for all the prizes on June 8. They are the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the PEN Open Book Award.


PEN's literary gala, which celebrates freedom of expression, was held last week under a storm of controversy. Its decision to award a prize to Charlie Hebdo, the French satire magazine that was attacked by gunmen, was publicly questioned by some authors who are members of the organization.

Despite the public debate, PEN presented Charlie Hebdo's surviving staff members with the award. "Few people are willing to put themselves in peril to ensure we are free to say what we believe," PEN president Andrew Solomon said in his remarks.

In announcing the literary awards, Solomon has turned back to the other work of the organization, celebrating literature. "The PEN Literary Awards acknowledge remarkable accomplishment in writing," he said in a statement. "The awards burnish the careers of novelists, translators, essayists, and poets; equally, they enhance the diverse landscape available to readers. They celebrate and confer the freedom that is a prerequisite to great literature."

The 19 awards total close to $150,000. The complete list, of both winners and shortlisted titles, is below.


PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, 2014 shortlist ($25,000):

"The UnAmericans" by Molly Antopol (W. W. Norton & Company)

"Ruby" by  Cynthia Bond (Hogarth)

"Redeployment" by Phil Klay (Penguin Press)

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

"Love Me Back" by Merritt Tierce (Doubleday)

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, 2014 ($10,000): "War of the Whales: A True Story" by Joshua Horowitz (Simon & Schuster)

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction, 2013-14 ($10,000): "Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital" by Sheri Fink (Crown)

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay 2014 shortlist ($10,000):


"Moral Imagination" by David Bromwich (Princeton University Press)

"Theater of Cruelty" by Ian Buruma (New York Review Books)

"Loitering" by Charles D'Ambrosio (Tin House Books)

"The Empathy Exams" Leslie Jamison (Graywolf Press)

"Limber" by Angela Pelster (Sarabande Books)

PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize 2014 ($10,000): To be announced later this month

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography, 2014 ($5,000): "The Queen's Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth's Court" by Anna Whitelock (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, 2014, emerging poet ($5,000): "Prelude to Bruise" by Saeed Jones (Coffee House Press)

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, 2014, children's book in progress ($5,000): "The Pragmatist" by Stephanie Keuhn

PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing, 2014 ($5,000): Bob Ryan

PEN Open Book Award 2014, by an author of color, shortlist ($5,000):

"An Unnecessary Woman" by Rabih Alameddine (Grove Press)

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

"An Untamed State" by Roxane Gay (Black Cat/ Grove Atlantic)

"Citizen" by Claudia Rankine (Graywolf Press)

"The City Son" by  Samrat Upadhyay (Soho Press)

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, 2014 ($3,000): "I Am the Beggar of the World," an anthology translated from the Pashto by Eliza Griswold (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

PEN Translation Prize, 2014 ($3,000): "Baboon" by Naja Marie Aidt, translated from the Danish by Denise Newman (Two Lines Press)

PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards, Master American Dramatist 2014 ($7,500): Tina Howe

PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards, American Playwright in Mid-Career 2014 ($7,500): Anne Washburn

PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards, Emerging American Playwright 2014 ($2,500): Jennifer Blackmer

PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing, 2014, magazines ($2,500): Rob Spillman for Tin House

PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, 2014: Burton Watson

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants, 2014 ($2,000-$4,000): Recipients will be announced later this month

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