PEN American Center has just announced the winners and runners-up of the 2012 PEN Awards, the most comprehensive literary awards program in the country. This year marks PEN's 90th anniversary. For more than 50 of those years PEN's Literary Awards program has honored many of the most outstanding voices in literature.
This year, PEN will present 18 awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes-including two awards offered for the first time ever: the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, founded by Barbara Kingsolver and first established in 2000, and the PEN/Steven Kroll Award for text in an illustrated picture book. With the help of its partners and supporters, PEN will confer nearly $175,000 in 2012 to some of the most gifted writers and translators working today.
Award winners and runners-up will be honored at the 2012 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, at CUNY Graduate Center's Proshansky Auditorium in New York City.
PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, Founded by Barbara Kingsolver ($25,000): To an author of an unpublished novel that addresses issues of social justice. The prize also includes a publishing contract with Algonquin Books. Presented for the first time by PEN in 2012. Judges: Rosellen Brown, Margot Livesey, and Kathy Pories.
WINNER: Susan Nussbaum, Good Kings Bad Kings
PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): To a fiction writer whose debut work, published in 2011, represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise. Judges: Lauren Groff, Dinaw Mengestu, and Nami Mun.
WINNER: Vanessa Veselka, Zazen (Red Lemonade)
RUNNER-UP: Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station (Coffee House Press)
PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction ($25,000): To a writer whose body of work places him or her in the highest rank of American literature. Judges: Don DeLillo, Jennifer Egan, and George Saunders.
WINNER: E. L. Doctorow
PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): For a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical or biological sciences published in 2011. Judges: Elizabeth Kolbert, Charles Mann, and Dava Sobel.
WINNER: James Gleick, The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Pantheon Books)
RUNNER-UP: Donovan Hohn, Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them (Viking Books)
PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Awards for an American Playwright in Mid-Career and a Master American Dramatist ($7,500): A pair of awards, which honor a Master American Dramatist and an American Playwright in Mid-Career. Judges: Robert Brustein, John Lahr, and Stephen Wadsworth.
Master American Dramatist: Christopher Durang
American Playwright in Mid-Career: Will Eno and Adam Rapp
PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($5,000): For a book of essays published in 2011 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem of the essay form. Judges: Robert Boyers, Janet Malcolm, and Ruth Reichl.
WINNER: Christopher Hitchens, Arguably (Twelve)
André Aciman, Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Robert Gottlieb, Lives and Letters (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): For a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2011. Judges: Marshall Jon Fisher, Rob Fleder, and Mark Mulvoy.
WINNER: Dan Barry, Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game (Harper)
RUNNERS-UP: John Casey, Room for Improvement: Notes on a Dozen Lifelong Sports (Alfred A. Knopf)