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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


for an outstanding work of debut fiction


to a distinguished living American author of fiction


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


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


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


for a distinguished book-length prose translation


for a book-length work by an author of color


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


for excellence in the art of biography


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

Children's / Young Adult

for an author of an unpublished work of children's or young-adult fiction

Children's / Young Adult

an award established in memory of Steven Kroll to acknowledge the distinct literary contributions of picture book writers


for an author of a nonfiction book about sports


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


to a living author of a major work of Paraguayan literature


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

Featured Award Winners

At the outset, I had no intention of doing what I...

While the sport would never be entirely free of peril,...

In the twentieth century alone, the Amphitryon myth has...

First are the kinds of shadow books that fail to be...

I am tired of his body. I am tired of his body parts—...

Indeed, the truth of the forest may be more clearly and...

"The Philosophy of Composition” is a lovely little...

It means everything because sentencing like Physics and...

This is just one of many / Beautiful moments I've been...

Consequently for him, as time went by, the past was...

People ate differently here, talked differently,...

You do not understand how one can possibly go to school...

He decided to guess who the perpetrator was, even...

I was running with the spear which was a pencil in my...

"I'm here for you to save my life. Is that too...

In the chapel, Baroque music played from invisible...

At some point in the proceedings one of the more...

Writing by Past Winners