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Literary Awards

Literary Awards


The PEN Literary Awards are the most comprehensive in the United States. Each year, with the help of its partners and supporters, PEN confers more than $150,000 to writers in the fields of fiction, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, drama, or poetry.

» Click here to see the complete archive of winners by year. 

Call for Submissions


awarded to a writer of fiction that addresses issues of social justice


for a promising young writer of an unpublished work of nonfiction that addresses a global and/or multicultural issue

Children's / Young Adult

for an author of an unpublished work of children's or young-adult fiction


three awards to honor a Grand Master of American Theater, playwright in mid-career, and emerging playwright


to a writer for their long-time contributions to the field of literary sports writing


to a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work to date represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature


to a distinguished living American author of fiction


to promote the publication and reception of translated world literature in English


for an outstanding work of debut fiction


to preserve the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature


to celebrate writing that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of physical and biological sciences


for an author of a nonfiction book about sports


for excellence in the art of biography


for a book-length work by an author of color


for a book-length translation of poetry from any language into English


for a distinguished book-length prose translation


to a living author of a major work of Paraguayan literature

Featured Award Winners

The novel that propelled Aurora Venturini to literary...

The balance of humor and horror in Venturini's The...

Read an essay from Ian Buruma's Theater of Cruelty,...

The title essay of Leslie Jamison's The Empathy Exams,...

This ode to the essay is from Charles D'Ambrosio's...

Limber is a collection of essays which chart the world'...

David Bromwich is finalist for the 2015 PEN/Diamonstein...

You tell your neighbor that your friend, whom he has...

Since the crackdown he’d been living like a man in a...

To get a better idea of the writers behind the books,...

My memory was a gift until it became a curse, until no...

Beirut is the Elizabeth Taylor of cities: insane,...

She has, I presume, told him about me: the first heart...

When I saw her she was dressed in a shimmering red sari...

At ten a.m. I hadn’t come down even after smoking a...

Boaz understood that while he respected Eva’s utter...

The people of Liberty Township wove her into cautionary...

Writing by Past Winners