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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 & Steve Fainaru, and John Branch.

Eligiblity and Submissions for the 2016 Awards

Submissions closed on August 15, 2015. This award will be offered again during the 2017 PEN Awrards cycle, for which submissions will open in mid-2016. 

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.
  • Titles must be of biographical, investigative, historical, or analytical nature.
  • 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 award. Please note that the PEN/Faulkner and PEN/Hemmingway Awards are not considered 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 award's online submission form. As submissions have closed, the form has been deactivated. Each submission is $50*. If you would like to pay by check, please enter CHECK in the coupon code field at checkout. Checks should be made out to PEN American Center. 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 and Declaration of Eligibility during the open submission period. 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 [email protected] by the end of the year and asked to ship one copy of the book to each of our three awards judges. Please add [email protected] 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 [email protected]. Once received, you will be provided with a coupon code to use at check-out in order to have your submission fees waived. One fee waiver may be used for all 2016 PEN Awards; you do not need to submit a separate fee waiver for each award.