PEN announces winners of its 2013 awards

<i>This post has been corrected. See the note below.</i>

A 688-page debut novel and a nonfiction book that has already racked up a shelf of prizes, including the National Book Award, led the PEN 2013 Awards, which were announced Wednesday.

Sergio de la Pava’s novel, “A Naked Singularity,” will be awarded the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for first fiction. Katherine Boo will take home $10,000 for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction for her book reporting on a Mumbai slum, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers.”

Two other PEN awards come with $10,000 prizes: the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, which will go to Robert Hass for his collection “What Light Can Do,” and PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, which will go to Leonard Mlodinow for “Subliminal.”


The PEN Awards will be presented at a ceremony in New York on Oct. 21. The organization will present 16 prizes, giving away nearly $150,000 to writers, editors and translators. The shortlist was announced in July.

The complete list of winners is below.

PEN American Center 2013 awards winners

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): To an author whose debut work — a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2012 — represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise. Judges: Tom Drury, Danielle Evans and Donald Ray Pollock. Winner: Sergio de la Pava for “A Naked Singularity” (University of Chicago Press).

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 the United States during 2011 or 2012. Judges: Eliza Griswold, Maya Jasanoff and Edward Mendelson. Winner: Katherine Boo for “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” (Random House).

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2012 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature. Judges: Sven Birkerts, Robert Gottlieb and Mark Kramer. Winner: Robert Hass for “What Light Can Do” (Ecco).

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 2012. Judges: Deborah Blum, Katherine Bouton and Jerome Groopman. Winner: Leonard Mlodinow for “Subliminal” (Vintage Books).


PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2012. Judges: Cyrus Cassells, Porochista Khakpour and Tiphanie Yanique. Winners: Gina Apostol for “Gun Dealers’ Daughter” (W.W. Norton & Co.) and Kevin Young for “The Grey Album” (Graywolf Press).

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2012. Judges: Debby Applegate, Peter Orner and Charles Shields. Winner: Tom Reiss for “The Black Count” (Broadway Books).

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: David Granger, Laura Hillenbrand, and Steve Isenberg. Winner: Frank Deford for “Over Time” (Grove Press).

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2012. Judges: Jane Leavy, William Leitch and Ben McGrath. Winner: Mark Kram Jr. for “Like Any Normal Day” (St. Martin’s Press).

PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ($5,000): To a writer for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2012. Judges: Barbara Shook Hazen, David Wiesner and Cheryl Willis Hudson. Winner: Michelle Markel for “The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau” (Eerdmans), illustrated by Amanda Hall.

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2012. Judge: Don Mee Choi. Winner: Molly Weigel for “The Shock of the Lenders and Other Poems” by Jorge Santiago Perednik (Action Books).


PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2012. Judges: Margaret Carson, Bill Johnston and Alex Zucker. Winner: Donald O. White for “The Island of Second Sight” by Albert Vigoleis Thelen (Overlook Press).

[For the Record, 10:51 a.m. Aug. 27: An earlier version of this post omitted Mark Kram Jr., who won the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. That award was incorrectly attributed to Frank Deford, who won the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing.]


PEN announces shortlists for its 2013 awards

George R.R. Martin has opened a movie theater

E.L. James ties up top spot on Forbes’ richest authors list


Carolyn Kellogg: Join me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+