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PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000)

The $5,000 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing honors a nonfiction book about sports. Eligible titles should be of a biographical, investigative, historical, or analytical nature and of the strongest literary character.

Past winners: Marshall Jon Fisher, George Dohrmann, Dan Barry, Mark Kram, Jr., Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru.

Eligiblity and Submissions for the 2016 Awards

Please check back in mid-2015 for submission details for the 2016 award. 


Who Is Eligible
  • Eligible titles must have been published by a U.S. trade publisher between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.
  • Candidates must be U.S. residents. American citizenship is not required.
  • There are no restrictions on the candidate’s age or on the style of his or her work.
  • Submissions will only be accepted from publishers, editors, and agents.
  • One need not be a Member of PEN to submit.
  • Self-published books are not eligible. 
If you submit a book for this award, you may not submit it for any additional PEN American Center awards.
How to apply
1. Please download the award's Declaration of Eligibility here. Complete all fields and have a company executive sign the form in order to confirm the book's eligibility. If eligible, please mail this form along with one copy of the book to PEN's office (see step 3).
2. Complete the awards online submission form. When submissions open, we will provide a link here to the award's online submission form. Each submission is $50. If you would like to pay by check, please enter CHECK in the coupon code field at checkout. Be sure to print your receipt. Please also submit a verified email address on the submission form; your order cannot be processed without an email address, as this info will be used to later contact you regarding the shipments of your submission. Please note that submission fees are not refundable.
3. Mail one copy of the candidate's book accompanied by the printed receipt and Declaration of Eligibility between September 1, 2015 and November 14, 2015. Please note that we also accept galleys.
PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing
PEN American Center 
588 Broadway, Suite 303 
New York, NY 10012
4. Once the submitted book is received and reviewed for eligibility by PEN, you will be contacted by awards@pen.org by the end of the year and asked to ship one copy of the book to each of our three awards judges. Please add awards@pen.org to your safe sender list.
Submission fees may be waived for publishers whose annual net sales are less than $4 million. In order to have your dues waived, please have a company official write a letter on company letterhead stating that your press' annual net sales are less than $4 million. Please send this letter as an attachment (.doc or .pdf) to awards@pen.org. Once received, you will be provided with a coupon code to use at check-out in order to have your submission fees waived.