Posted on February 10, 2021 at 12:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Congratulations to the finalists for the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards!

There are fifty-five contenders total in eleven categories; the winners will be revealed in a virtual ceremony on April 8.

You can see the significance of each award, plus its judges and monetary value, on PEN America's announcement page.

PEN America describes itself as the nation’s foremost literary and free expression organization.

PEN/Jean Stein Book Award 

  • Borderland Apocrypha, by Anthony Cody 

  • The Death of Vivek Oji, by Akwaeke Emezi 

  • Be Holding: A Poem, by Ross Gay 

  • The Freezer Door, by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

  • Sharks in the Time of Saviors, by Kawai Strong Washburn 

PEN Open Book Award 

  • A Treatise on Stars, by Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge 

  • Un-American, by Hafizah Geter 

  • Wild Peach, by S*an D. Henry-Smith 

  • Inheritors, by Asako Serizawa 

  • How to Pronounce Knife: Stories, by Souvankham Thammavongsa 

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection 

  • Alligator & Other Stories, by Dima Alzayat 

  • Adults and Other Children, by Miriam Cohen 

  • You Will Never Be Forgotten, by Mary South 

  • House Is a Body, by Shruti Swamy

  • Further News of Defeat, by Michael X. Wang 

PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel  

  • These Ghosts Are Family, by Maisy Card 

  • Luster, by Raven Leilani

  • Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart 

  • Sharks in the Time of Saviors, by Kawai Strong Washburn

  • How Much of These Hills Is Gold, by C Pam Zhang 

PEN/Voelcker Award For Poetry Collection 

  • Conjure, by Rae Armantrout 

  • Obit, by Victoria Chang 

  • The Age of Phillis, by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers 

  • Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry, by John Murillo 

  • Blessed as We Were: Late Selected and New Poems, 2000–2018, by Gerald Stern 

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation  

  • Lean Against This Late Hour, written by Garous Abdolmalekian and translated from the Persian by Ahmad Nadalizadeh and Idra Novey

  • Raised by Wolves: Poems and Conversations, written by Amang and translated from the Chinese by Steve Bradbury

  • Sense Violence, written by Helena Boberg and translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson

  • Katabasis, written by Lucía Estrada and translated from the Spanish by Olivia Lott

  • A New Orthography, written by Serhiy Zhadan and translated from the Ukrainian by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin 

PEN Translation Prize 

  • Our Riches, written by Kaouther Adimi and translated from the French by Chris Andrews

  • That Hair: A Novel, written by Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida and translated from the Portuguese by Eric M. B. Becker

  • Ornamental, written by Juan Cárdenas and translated from the Spanish by Lizzie Davis

  • Girls Lost, written by Jessica Schiefauer and translated from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel

  • A Country for Dying, written by Abdellah Taïa and translated from the French by Emma Ramadan

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay 

  • Had I Known: Collected Essays, by Barbara Ehrenreich

  • Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader, by Vivian Gornick 

  • Nature Matrix: New and Selected Essays, by Robert Michael Pyle 

  • Terroir: Love, Out of Place, by Natasha Sajé,

  • Maybe the People Would Be the Times, by Luc Sante 

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Service Writing Award 

  • The Bird Way, by Jennifer Ackerman

  • Fathoms: The World in the Whale, by Rebecca Giggs

  • The Last Stargazers, by Emily Levesque

  • The Next Great Migration, by Sonia Shah

  • Owls of the Eastern Ice, by Jonathan C. Slaght 

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography  

  • Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture, by Sudhir Hazareesingh

  • MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman, by Ben Hubbard 

  • The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., by Peniel E. Joseph

  • 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz, by Heather Dune Macadam

  • Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World, by Amy Stanley

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction 

  • The Yellow House, by Sarah M. Broom 

  • Deported Americans: Life after Deportation to Mexico, by Beth C. Caldwell 

  • Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, by Saidiya Hartman 

  • Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker

  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: Awards, Book lists

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