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PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000)

This biennial prize of $10,000 will go to the 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 the previous two calendar years. The book should possess the qualities of intellectual rigor and importance, perspicuity of expression, and stylistic elegance conspicuous in the writings of author and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, whose four dozen books and countless other publications continue to provide an important and incisive commentary on the American social, intellectual and political scene. This award is offered in odd-numbered years.

Past winners: James Carroll, Steve Coll, Robert Perkinson, and Katherine Boo.

Eligibility and Submissions for the 2017 Awards

Submissions are closed. This award will be offered again in 2017. Please check back in mid-2016 for submission details for the 2017 award.

Who Is Eligible 

  • A candidate’s book of nonfiction must have been published in the United States between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016 (the two years prior to the award cycle year)
  • Candidates need not be U.S. residents.
  • Biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs are not accepted. 
  • Submissions are only 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 and print the award's Declaration of Eligibility found 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. 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. 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 accompanied by the printed receipt and completed Declaration of Eligibility to the address below between September 1, 2016 and November 14, 2016. Please note that we also accept galleys.

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction
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 then 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.