American Academy of Arts and Letters Announces 2016 Award Winners

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the winners of the organization’s 2016 literary awards. More than $500,000 in prize money was distributed to 13 talented writers. Check out the full list of winners below!

The American Academy of Arts and Letters is an honor society that promotes literature and the arts. It’s quite the prestigious organization: it was founded more than a century ago by a group that included the likes of Henry James, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson.

There are some familiar faces among this year’s honorees. The winners included Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has already won a National Book Award for his work in 2015, as well as Kirstin Valdez Quade, who just won a National Book Critics Circle Award. Other winners include Rachel Kushner and Anthony Marra. You can check out the complete list of prizes and winners below.


Benjamin H. Danks Award

$20,000 given every three years to an exceptional young playwright

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins


E.M. Forster Award

$20,000 to a young writer from the United Kingdom or Ireland for a stay in the United States

Sinéad Morrissey of Ireland


Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction 

$5,000 for a work of first fiction (novel or short stories) published in 2015.

Kirstin Valdez Quade for Night at the Fiestas



Award of Merit Medal

$25,000 to an outstanding poet

Henri Cole


Katherine Anne Porter Award

$20,000 to a prose writer

Kathryn Davis


American Academy in Rome Fellowships in Literature

A one-year (2016-2017) residency at the American Academy in Rome

John Guare Writer’s Fund Rome Prize: Jack Livings

Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize: Matthew Neill Null


Rosenthal Family Foundation Award

$10,000 to a young writer of considerable literary talent for a work published in 2015

Anthony Marra for The Tsar of Love and Techno



Mildred and Harold Strauss Livings

$200,000 to each of two writers to enable them to devote time exclusively to writing

Adam Haslett

Jesmyn Ward


Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award

$20,000 to a writer whose work merits recognition for the quality of its prose style

Rachel Kushner


Thornton Wilder Prize for Translation

$20,000 to a practitioner, scholar, or patron who has made a significant contribution to the art of literary translation

Jamey Gambrell


Morton Dauwen Zabel Award

$10,000 to a fiction writer with progressive, original, and experimental tendencies

James Hannaham