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The winners of the 2022 PEN American Literary Award have been announced! This year’s awards awarded $350,000 to writers and translators in eleven different categories, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, biography, essay, scientific writing, translated literature, and more. The winners were announced live at the PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 28, 2022 at New York City Hall, hosted by comedian and author Seth Myers.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards went to author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, screenwriter Elaine May and playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury.
As part of the event, PEN America shed light on the recent wave of exclusion and censorship that has swept across US classrooms, school boards and state homes and asked guests and viewers to support banned books and defend the freedom to read. The ceremony was also followed by a candlelight vigil as a sign of solidarity with Ukrainian writers.
2022 PEN America Literary Prize Winners
PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD ($75,000)
This award is given to a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit and impact, which broke new ground in reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence. . And this year’s judges are Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Angie Cruz, Maurice Manning and Steph Opitz.
Winner: The Kissing Bug: A True Story of a Family, an Insect, and a Nation’s Neglect of a Deadly Disease by Daisy Hernández (Tin House Books)
PEN Open Book Price ($10.00)
This award is given to an outstanding book-length work of any literary genre by an author of color. And this year’s judges are Jaquira Díaz, Rigoberto González, Sequoia Nagamatsu and Khadijah Queen.
Winner: Curb by Divya Victor (Nightboat Books)
PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM AWARD FOR THE FIRST COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES ($25,000)
This prize is awarded to an author whose first collection of short stories represents an outstanding literary achievement and holds out great promise for his future work. And this year’s judges are Ling Ma, Manuel Muñoz and Oscar Villalon.
Winner: Skinship: Stories of Yoon Choi (Knopf)
PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FOR FIRST NOVEL ($10,000)
This prize is awarded to a first novel of exceptional literary quality by an American author. And this year’s judges are Zeyn Joukhadar, Téa Obreht and Daniel Torday.
Winner: Detransition, Baby: A Novel by Torrey Peters (One World)
PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL PRIZE FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAY ($15,000)
This award is given to a seasoned writer whose collection of essays is an extension of their body of work and preserves the distinguished art form of the essay. And this year’s judges are Jason DeParle, Hua Hsu and Marilynne Robinson.
Winner: Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed Editions)
PEN/VOELCKER AWARD FOR POETRY COLLECTION
This award is given to a poet whose distinguished collection of poetry represents a remarkable and accomplished literary presence. This year’s judges are Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Lia Purpura and Safiya Sinclair.
Winner: frank: sonnets of Diane Seuss (Graywolf Press)
PEN AWARD FOR POETRY IN TRANSLATION ($3,000)
This prize is awarded to a translation of a book of poetry from any language into English. And this year’s judges are Caro Carter, Michael Favala Goldman and Parisa Saranj.
Winner: Everything I Don’t Know by Jerzy Ficowski (World Poetry Books)
Translated from Polish by Jennifer Grotz and Piotr Sommer
PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE ($3,000)
This award is given to a book-length translation of prose from any language into English. And this year’s judges are Almiro Andrade, Mayada Ibrahim, Barbara Ofosu-Somuah and Sharon E. Rhodes.
Winner: Migratory Birds by Mariana Oliver (Transit Books) Translated from Spanish by Julia Sanches
PEN/EO WILSON SCIENTIFIC LITERARY WRITING AWARD
This award is given to work that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience. And this year’s judges are Jonathan Safran Foer, Michele Harper and Lauren Redniss.
Winner: Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven (Spiegel & Grau)
PEN/JACQUELINE BOGRAD WELD AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY
This prize is awarded to a biography of exceptional literary, narrative and artistic value, based on scrupulous research. And this year’s judges are Luke Dittrich, Paul Golob and Imani Perry.
Winner: All the Troubles Today: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of Germany’s Resistance to Hitler by Rebecca Donner (Little Brown and Company)
PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NON-FICTION
This award is given to a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing outstanding literary merit and a critical perspective that sheds light on important contemporary issues. And this year’s judges are Emma Copley Eisenberg, Dr. K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Chanel Miller and Dagmawi Woubshet.
Winner: All She’s Worn: Ashley’s Bag Journey, Memory of a Black Family by Tiya Miles (Random House)
Looking for even more great recommendations? Check out the full lists of the 2022 PEN America Literary Awards.