PEN America Announces 2019 Literary Awards Finalists

Jennifer Egan, President, PEN America
Jennifer Egan, President, PEN America

PEN America has announced the finalists for the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards that showcase the best in literature and literary translation by writers from the United States and around the world.

The award which was dominated by debut works and small presses had over 50 published works shortlisted across genres and categories including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama and performance, and more.

Two debut works are up for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, the award with the largest prize at $75,000. These are Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s short story collection Friday Black (Mariner Books) and José Olivarez’s poetry collection Citizen Illegal (Haymarket Books) (one of two poetry collections shortlisted for the Award).

The PEN/Bingham Prize, focused for the first time on debut short story collections and confers a $25,000 prize. It is the only award in the United States exclusively for debut collections. Finalists include Chaya Bhuvaneswar’s White Dancing Elephants (Dzanc Books), Jamel Brinkley’s A Lucky Man (Graywolf Press), and Akil Kumarasamy’s Half Gods (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Appreciating its partnership with Hudson Booksellers, PEN America says it is pleased to offer a 25 percent discount on all PEN America Literary Award finalist and semi-finalist titles on with discount code PEN19.

Winners of the book awards will be named and resented with their awards at the February 26 Literary Awards Ceremony at the NYU Skirball Center.

Finalists will be selected by panels of esteemed, award-winning writers, editors, booksellers, and critics.

Debut works and small presses abound, with over 50 percent of shortlisted works published by small presses, and debut works being considered for awards across categories.