2023 PEN America Literary Awards Longlists


Pen America Literary Awards Finalists

Since 1963, the PEN America Literary Awards have honored outstanding voices in translation, fiction, poetry, science writing, essay, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, and drama.  With the help of their partners, PEN America confers over 20 distinct awards, fellowships, grants and prizes each year, awarding nearly $350,000 to writers and translators.

Check out 2023 longlists below — and stay tuned for the finalists and winners!

Jean Stein Award   |   Open Book Award   |   Short Story Collection   |   Debut Novel   |   Art of the Essay   |   Poetry Collection   |   Poetry in Translation   |   Translation Prize   |   Biography   |   Literary Science   |   Nonfiction


 

Jean Stein 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.

 

Longlist:

My Pinup by Hilton Als  Acting Class by Nick Drnaso  If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery Dr. No by Percival Everett Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso Milkweed Smithereens by Bernadette Mayer If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga The White Mosque by Sofia Samatar Customs by Solmaz Sharif Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

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Open Book Award

To an exceptional book-length work of any literary genre by an author of color.

 

Longlist:

Golden Ax by Rio Cortez Shutter by Ramona Emerson The Black Period by Hafizah Augustus Geter The Listening Skin: Poems by Glenis Redmond Gorgoneion by Casey Rocheteau All the Flowers Kneeling by Paul Tran The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela Making Love with the Land by Joshua Whitehead  Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe Solito by Javier Zamora

 

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Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection

To an author whose debut collection of short stories represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise for future work.


Longlist:

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere by Sindya Bhanoo Rainbow Rainbow by Lydia Conklin Is This How You Eat a Watermelon? by Zein El-Amine If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times by Meron Hadero A Calm & Normal Heart by Chelsea T. Hicks What We Fed to the Manticore by Talia Lakshmi Kolluri The Anchored World by Jasmine Sawers Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty Manywhere by Morgan Thomas

   

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Hemingway Award for Debut Novel

To a debut novel of exceptional literary merit by an American author.


Longlist:

A Tiny Upward Shove by Melissa Chadburn The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan Activities of Daily Living by Lisa Hsiao Chen Shutter by Ramona Emerson Nuclear Family by Joseph Han Calling For a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu Little Rabbit by Alyssa Songsiridej Which Side Are You On by Ryan Lee Wong

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Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay

For a seasoned writer whose collection of essays is an expansion on their corpus of work and preserves the distinguished art form of the essay.

 

Longlist:

I’ll Show Myself Out by Jessi Klein Translating Myself and Others by Jhumpa Lahiri A Place in the World by Frances Mayes Still No Word From You by Peter Orner Animal Bodies: On Death, Desire, and Other Difficulties by Suzanne Roberts Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris Small Acreages: New and Selected Essays by Georgia Green Stamper Streaming Now: Postcards from the Thing That Is Happening by Laurie Stone A Left-Handed Woman by Judith Thurman The Green Hour: A Natural History of Home by Alison Townsend

 

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PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection

To a poet whose distinguished collection of poetry represents a notable and accomplished literary presence.
 

Longlist:

Smoking the Bible by Chris Abani [To] The Last [Be] Human by Jorie Graham Maafa by Harmony Holiday The Hurting Kind by Ada Limon To The Realization of Perfect Helplessness by Robin Coste Lewis Cain Named The Animal by Shane Mcrae Pink Waves by Sawako Nakayasu blood snow by Dg Nanouk Okpik Then The War by Carl Phillips Best Barbarian by Roger Reeves

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PEN Award for Poetry in Translation

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

 

Longlist:

The Loose Pearl by Paula Ilabaca Nuñez No Way in the Skin without This Bloody Embrace by Jean D’Amérique The Threshold by Iman Mersal claus and the scorpion by Lara Dopazo Ruibal Dolore Minimo by Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season by Forough Farrokhzad distant transit by Maja Haderlap Motherfield by Julia Cimafiejeva The Rust of History by Sotero Rivera Avilés Adela Zamudio: Selected Poetry & Prose by Adela Zamudio

  

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PEN Translation Prize

For a book-length translation of prose from any language into English.

 

Longlist:

All Your Children, Scattered by Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse, trans. Alison Anderson The Tatami Galaxy by Tomihiko Morimi, trans. Emily Balistrieri Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda, trans. Sarah Booker Call Me Cassandra by Marcial Gala, trans. Anna Kushner Moldy Strawberries by Caio Fernando Abreu, trans. Bruna Dantas Lobato Toño the Infallible by Evelio Rosero, trans. Victor Meadowcroft and Anne McLean Ghost Town by Kevin Chen, trans. Darryl Sterk People from Bloomington by Budi Darma, trans. Tiffany Tsao A Line in the World: A Year on the North Sea Coast by Dorthe Nors, trans. Caroline Waight Pina by Titaua Peu, trans. Jeffrey Zuckerman

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Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

For a distinguished biography of exceptional literary, narrative, and artistic merit, based on scrupulous research.
 

Longlist:

An American Martyr in Persia: The Epic Life and Tragic Death of Howard Baskerville by Reza Aslan Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality by Tomiko Brown-Nagin Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm by Dan Charnas The Adventures of Herbie Cohen by Rich Cohen G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage The Hyacinth Girl: T. S. Eliot’s Hidden Muse by Lyndall Gordon Guru to the World: The Life and Legacy of Vivekananda by Ruth Harris Mr. B: George Balanchine’s 20th Century by Jennifer Homans The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler by David I. Kertzer Saxophone Colossus: The Life and Music of Sonny Rollins by Aidan Levy

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E.O. Wilson Literary Science Award

For a book that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience.

 

Longlist:

Different by Frans de Waal Vagina Obscura by Rachel E. Gross Orchid Muse by Erica Hannickel Sounds Wild and Broken by David George Haskell A Molecule Away from Madness by Sara Manning Peskin The Wine-Dark Sea Within: A Turbulent History of Blood by Dhun Sethna Big Bang of Numbers by Manil Suri Heartbreak by Florence Williams An Immense World by Ed Yong Dancing Cockatoos and the Dead Man Test by Marlene Zuk

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John Kenneth Gailbraith Award for Nonfiction

For a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective that illuminates important contemporary issues.

 

Longlist:

The Naked Don’t Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees by Matthieu Aikins Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America’s Woods by Lyndsie Bourgon After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics–And How to Fix It by Will Bunch The Inheritors: An Intimate Portrait of South Africa’s Racial Reckoning by Eve Fairbanks Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands by Kelly Lytle Hernandez South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry The War of Nerves: Inside the Cold War Mind by Martin Sixsmith The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide by Steven W. Thrasher The Great Stewardess Rebellion: How Women Launched a Workplace Revolution at 30,000 Feet by Nell McShane Wulfhart Solito by Javier Zamora

 

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