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.)

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