PEN Awards Ceremony Honors Winners

This year’s PEN Awards ceremony was, according to PEN’s Literary Award Committee Chair Monique Troung, record-breaking. How so? Submissions for each category amounted to over 1,200. There was another interesting aspect of this year’s awards ceremony; five awards were announced live, a first for PEN America. The prizes, including awards, fellowships, and grants, amounted to almost $200,000.   

The ceremony took place at Manhattan’s New School on April 1st, and was hosted by Tina Chang, Brooklyn’s 2010 poet laureate. Here is a look at some of the awards and award winners:


PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction to “a distinguished living American author of fiction.”

Winner: Toni Morrison 

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PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction to “an author whose debut work – a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2015- represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.” 

Winner: In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar 



PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for “a book of essays published in 2015 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay imparts to literature.”

Winner: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 




PEN Open Book Award for “an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2015.”

Winner: Chord by Rick Barot



PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize for “a promising young writer under the age of 35 for an unpublished work of nonfiction that addresses a global and/or multicultural issue.”

Winner: Crux by Jean Guerrero 

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The final event for the PEN awards (the PEN World Voices Festival) will take place from April 25 to May 1. The winner of the 2016 Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecturer Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist, will speak at the event.

Congratulations to all! For the full list of winners, check out the PEN website.


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