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PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000)

The PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography is awarded for excellence in the art of biography. This prize of $5,000 will go to the author of a distinguished work published in the United States during the previous calendar year. The winning title should be a work of exceptional literary, narrative and artistic merit, based on scrupulous research.

Past winners: Janet Malcom, Richard Brody, Michael Scammell, Stacy Schiff, Robert K. Massie, Tom Reiss, Linda Leavell, and Anna Whitelock.

Eligibility and Submissions for the 2016 Awards

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

Who is eligible

  • A candidate’s book of nonfiction must have been published in the United States between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.
  • Books must be works by an author about another figure; neither memoir nor autobiography is eligible.
  • Candidates need not be U.S. residents.
  • PEN will only accept submissions from publishers, editors, and agents.
  • 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. 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 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, this 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 to the address below during the open submission period. Please note that we do accept galleys:

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography
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] before the end of the year and be asked to ship one copy of the book to each of our three awards judges. Please be sure to 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.