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    Here are the finalists for the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards.

    Rasheeda Saka

    February 10, 2021, 11:43am

    Today, PEN America announced the finalists for its 2021 Literary Awards, which recognizes and honors “dynamic, imaginative, and thought-provoking” books published in the last year. Previous winners include Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Imani Perry, and Yiyun Li.

    The 55 finalists were selected across 11 categories—PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, Open Book Award, Debut Short Story Collection, Debut Novel, Poetry Collection, Poetry in Translation, Translation, Essay, Science Writing, Biography, and Nonfiction—by a panel of esteemed writers, editors, translators, and critics, who collectively read over 1,850 books for this Award’s cycle.

    The winner in each category will be announced live at a virtual ceremony on April 8, 2021. A hearty congrats to all!

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    Finalists for the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards

    PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD

    Anthony Cody, Borderland Apocrypha

    Akwaeke Emezi, The Death of Vivek Oji

    Ross Gay, Be Holding: A Poem

    Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, The Freezer Door

    Kawai Strong Washburn, Sharks in the Time of Saviors

    PEN OPEN BOOK AWARD

    Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, A Treatise on Stars

    Hafizah Geter, Un-American

    S*an D. Henry-Smith, Wild Peach

    Asako Serizawa, Inheritors

    Souvankham Thammavongsa, How to Pronounce Knife: Stories

    PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT SHORT STORY COLLECTION

    Dima Alzayat, Alligator & Other Stories

    Miriam Cohen, Adults and Other Children

    Mary South, You Will Never Be Forgotten

    Shruti Swamy, A House Is a Body

    Michael X. Wang, Further News of Defeat

    PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FOR DEBUT NOVEL

    Maisy Card, These Ghosts Are Family

    Raven Leilani, Luster

    Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain

    Kawai Strong Washburn, Sharks in the Time of Saviors

    C Pam Zhang, How Much of These Hills Is Gold

    PEN/VOELCKER AWARD FOR POETRY COLLECTION

    Rae Armantrout, Conjure

    Victoria Chang, Obit

    Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, The Age of Phillis

    John Murillo, Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry

    Gerald Stern, Blessed as We Were: Late Selected and New Poems, 2000–2018

    PEN AWARD FOR POETRY IN TRANSLATION

    Garous Abdolmalekian, Lean Against This Late Hour
    Translated from the Persian by Ahmad Nadalizadeh and Idra Novey

    Amang, Raised by Wolves: Poems and Conversations
    Translated from the Chinese by Steve Bradbury

    Helena Boberg, Sense Violence
    Translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson

    Lucía Estrada, Katabasis
    Translated from the Spanish by Olivia Lott

    Serhiy Zhadan, A New Orthography
    Translated from the Ukrainian by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin

    PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE

    Kaouther Adimi, Our Riches
    Translated from the French by Chris Andrews

    Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida, That Hair: A Novel
    Translated from the Portuguese by Eric M. B. Becker

    Juan Cárdenas, Ornamental
    Translated from the Spanish by Lizzie Davis

    Jessica Schiefauer, Girls Lost
    Translated from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel

    Abdellah Taïa, A Country for Dying
    Translated from the French by Emma Ramadan

    PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAY

    Barbara Ehrenreich, Had I Known: Collected Essays

    Vivian Gornick, Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader

    Robert Michael Pyle, Nature Matrix: New and Selected Essays

    Natasha Sajé, Terroir: Love, Out of Place

    Luc Sante, Maybe the People Would Be the Times

    PEN/E.O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD

    Jennifer Ackerman, The Bird Way

    Rebecca Giggs, Fathoms: The World in the Whale

    Emily Levesque, The Last Stargazers

    Sonia Shah, The Next Great Migration

    Jonathan C. Slaght, Owls of the Eastern Ice

    PEN/JACQUELINE BOGRAD WELD AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY

    Sudhir Hazareesingh, Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture

    Ben Hubbard, MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman

    Peniel E. Joseph, The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

    Heather Dune Macadam, 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz

    Amy Stanley, Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World

    PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NONFICTION

    Sarah M. Broom, The Yellow House

    Beth C. Caldwell, Deported Americans: Life after Deportation to Mexico

    Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments

    Robert Kolker, Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family

    Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

    [h/t PEN]

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