PEN America announced the 2021 Literary Awards winners at the awards ceremony held April 8, 2021. Poetry has a prominent place this year, with top honors, The PEN/Jean Stein Book Award (“To a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact, which has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence.”), going to Ross Gay for Be Holding: A Poem (University of Pittsburgh Press).

The PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection (“To a poet whose distinguished collection of poetry represents a notable and accomplished literary presence.”) went to Victoria Chang for Obit (Copper Canyon Press), and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (“For a book-length translation of poetry from any language into English.”) went to Steve Bradbury for his translation from the Chinese of the book by Amang, Raised by Wolves: Poems and Conversations (Phoneme Media).

For more about the poets, authors, translators, books, awards (including a video of the awards ceremony), and the work of PEN, visit the PEN Literary Awards page.

what a list!

February 15, 2021

banner for PEN Literary Awards finalists

PEN America has announced the finalists for the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards, and what a list it is!

To make their decisions, the judges narrowed down 1850+ submissions to 55 books, spanning 11 awards in the categories of science writing, the essay, poetry and short story collections, translation, the novel, and more. Twenty of the books featured are from writers making their literary debuts. Half of the open-genre award finalists are poetry collections.

The winners will be celebrated at the PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony, to take place virtually on Thursday, April 8, 2021, and will be open to a global audience. (Details TBA.)

more finalists

January 31, 2020

It’s awards season, and PEN America has announced the 2020 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists. See the complete list here, with poetry books in assorted categories.

Poetry titles include Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky (Graywolf Press), Be Recorder by Carmen Giménez Smith (Graywolf Press), Erou by Maya Phillips (Four Way Books), and five book-length translations of poetry: Final Matters: Selected Poems, 2004-2010 by Szilárd Borbély (Princeton University Press), translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet; Room in Rome bu Jorge Eduardo Eielson (Cardboard House Press), translated from the Spanish by David Shook; Daybook 1918: Early Fragments by J.V. Foix (Northwestern University Press), translated from the Catalan by Lawrence Venuti; Killing Plato by Chantal Maillard (New Directions Publishing), translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert; and The Winter Garden Photograph by Reina María Rodríguez (Ugly Duckling Presse), translated from the Spanish by Kristin Dykstra and Nancy Gates Madsen.

Congratulations, finalists! The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Monday, March 2, 2020, at Town Hall in New York City.

PEN America has announced the longlists for the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards, including 10 semi-finalists for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (judged by Sinan Antoon, Ewa Chrusciel, Peter Filkins, Katrine Øgaard Jensen).

The finalists for all book awards will be announced in January 2019. The winners will be celebrated at the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 26 at the NYU Skirball Center in NYC.

Founded in 1922, PEN America is the largest of the more than 100 centers worldwide that make up the PEN International network. PEN America works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others.

awards

February 23, 2018

Since 1963, the PEN Awards have honored the most outstanding voices in literature across a diverse range of genres, including fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, and drama. With the help of partners, PEN America confers over 20 distinct awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes each year, awarding nearly $315,000 to writers and translators.

This week, PEN named the 2018 PEN America Literary Awards winners as well as the 2018 PEN America Lifetime and Career Achievement Honorees. Among the former is poet Layli Long Soldier’s debut collection, Whereas. Among the latter is poet Kamau Braithwaite for his body of work including Elegguas, Born to Slow Horses, and Ancestors.

Congratulations to these two important voices in poetry.

“The thirteenth annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature will focus its lens on today’s fractious relationship between gender and power. Taking place in New York City, May 1-7, 2017, the weeklong Festival will use literature and the arts to address how gender both enables and impairs full participation in politics and society. At a moment of unprecedented threats to freedom and truth, and of emboldened mobilization and resistance, the Festival will connect leading global writers, artists and thinkers with concerned citizens to examine bigotry, misogyny and xenophobia, and to bolster the movement to counter them.”

More at PEN World Voices Festival: Gender and Power
Twitter: @PENworldvoices/#PENFest
Facebook: facebook.com/PENworldvoices
Instagram: @pen_america
Tumblr: penamerican.tumblr.com

another list

December 10, 2015

PEN America

Another addition to your what-to-read-next list: The PEN American Center today posted the longlist for the 2016 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. The finalists will be announced on February 2, 2016, and the winner on March 1, 2016. This year’s judge is Urayoán Noel, a poet, critic, translator, performer, and assistant professor of English and Spanish at New York University. Learn more about the important work of PEN American Center.

Banned Books Week

September 28, 2015

Banned Books WeekBecause books matter, and poetry matters, and words shape the ideas at the heart of poetry, and because some people would still prefer that we do not have access to those ideas/words/poems/books, we note and celebrate Banned Books Week each year.

Although challenges are fewer in number, the American Library Association recorded “311 reported attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves in 2014–2015.” Read more from Chris Finan, director of the American Booksellers for Free Expression (ABFE).

Banned Books Week, this year highlighting young adult literature, is September 27 – October 3, 2015.

Visit the PEN American Center website to hear Alex Dimitrov reading “I Am Not” and “Personals Ad” by the much-banned Allen Ginsberg and Deborah Landau reading Walt Whitman’s poems “Leaves of Grass” and “Respondez!” And just in case you’re really in the doldrums, get lost on the island of the banned: Pinterest.

free to poem

January 8, 2015

PEN American Center

“For the last 90 years, PEN American Center has been working to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to make it possible for everyone to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others.”

In support of that goal, PEN Poetry Series publishes a poem each week by emerging and established writers. The poems are selected by a guest editor who makes brief comments about the choice and the writing. You can view the poems on the PEN Poetry Series page and you can also subscribe.

There’s more PEN on Facebook.

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