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    Here are the finalists for the 2022 PEN America Literary Awards.

    Snigdha Koirala

    January 26, 2022, 11:00am

    This morning, PEN America announced the finalists for their 2022 Literary Awards. The list includes 54 authors and 11 translators who published works in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, essay, science writing, translation, and more in 2021. Through the books on these shortlists, Program Director Donica Bettanin said in a press release “readers encounter bountiful eye-opening perspectives and enter complex visions and histories unfolding around the world and throughout time.”

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    The finalists include writers from 25 states, alongside China, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. In the ten titles from the two translation categories, eight languages are represented, which tell stories from ten different countries. In addition, half of this year’s finalists are writers of color, while two-thirds are women and non-binary writers. The shortlists also include a large number of works published by independent and university presses.

    This year’s winners will be announced at a ceremony on February 28, which will include live music, readings from selected award-winning works, and an In Memoriam segment in order to recognize and celebrate the literary figures lost over the last year.

    Below are this year’s finalists:


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    PEN/Jean Stein Book Award ($75,000)

    Judges: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Angie Cruz, Maurice Manning, Steph Opitz  

    Carolina De Robertis, The President and The Frog(Knopf)

    Percival Everett, The Trees: A Novel (Graywolf Press)

    Daisy Hernández, The Kissing Bug: A True Story of a Family, an Insect, and a Nation’s Neglect of a Deadly Disease (Tin House Books)

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    Dantiel W. Moniz, Milk Blood Heat (Grove Press)

    Joy Williams, Harrow (Knopf)


    PEN Open Book Award ($10,000) 

    Judges: Jaquira Díaz, Rigoberto González, Sequoia Nagamatsu, Khadijah Queen 

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    Rebecca Hall, Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts (Simon & Schuster)

    Rajiv Mohabir, Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir (Restless Books)

    Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint, Names for Light: A Family History (Graywolf Press)

    Divya Victor, Curb (Nightboat Books)

    Elissa Washuta, White Magic (Tin House Books)

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    PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection ($25,000) 

    Judges: Ling Ma, Manuel Muñoz, Oscar Villalon 

    Yoon Choi, Skinship: Stories (Knopf)

    Carribean Fragoza, Eat the Mouth That Feeds You(City Lights Books)

    Dantiel W. Moniz, Milk Blood Heat (Grove Press)

    Clare Sestanovich, Objects of Desire: Stories(Knopf)

    Chris Stuck, Give My Love to the Savages: Stories (Amistad Press)


    PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel ($10,000)

    Judges: Zeyn Joukhadar, Téa Obreht, Daniel Torday

    Avni Doshi, Burnt Sugar (The Overlook Press)

    Carolyn Ferrell, Dear Miss Metropolitan: A Novel (Henry Holt & Company)

    Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Novel (Harper)

    Torrey Peters, Detransition, Baby: A Novel (One World)

    Kirstin Valdez Quade, The Five Wounds: A Novel (W.W. Norton & Company)


    PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($15,000) 

    Judges: Jason DeParle, Hua Hsu, Marilynne Robinson 

    Hanif Abdurraqib, A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance (Random House)

    André Aciman, Homo Irrealis: Essays (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

    Teju Cole, Black Paper: Writing in a Dark Time (University of Chicago Press)

    Ann Patchett, These Precious Days: Essays (Harper)

    Margaret Renkl, Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South (Milkweed Editions)


    PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection ($5,000)

    Judges: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Lia Purpura, Safiya Sinclair

    Mai Der Vang, Yellow Rain: Poems (Graywolf Press)

    Douglas Kearney, Sho (Wave Books)

    Atsuro Riley, Heard-Hoard (University of Chicago Press)

    Diane Seuss, frank: sonnets (Graywolf Press)

    Phillip B. Williams, Mutiny (Penguin Books)


    PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000)

    Judges: Caro Carter, Michael Favala Goldman, Parisa Saranj

    Najwan Darwish, Exhausted on the Cross, (New York Review Books) translated from the Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid

    Jerzy Ficowski, Everything I Don’t Know (World Poetry Books) translated from the Polish by Jennifer Grotz and Piotr Sommer

    Ma Yan, I Name Him Me: Selected Poems of Ma Yan Ma Yan (Ugly Duckling Presse) translated from the Chinese by Stephen Nashef

    Ursula Andkjær Olsen, Outgoing Vessel, (Action Books) translated from the Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen 

    Susana Thénon, Ova Completa (Ugly Duckling Presse) translated from Spanish by Rebekah Smith 


    PEN Translation Prize ($3,000)

    Judges: Almiro Andrade, Mayada Ibrahim, Barbara Ofosu-Somuah, Sharon E. Rhodes

    Magda Cârneci, FEM (Deep Vellum), translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter

    Juli Zeh, New Year (World Editions), translated from the German by Alta L. Price

    Mariana Oliver, Migratory Birds (Transit Books), translated from the Spanish by Julia Sanches

    Fatima Daas, The Last One: A Novel (Other Press), translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud

    Carl de Souza, Kaya Days: A Novel (Two Line Press), translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman


    PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000)

    Judges: Jonathan Safran Foer, Michele Harper, Lauren Redniss

    Lauren Aguirre, The Memory Thief: And the Secrets Behind What We Remember—A Medical Mystery, Lauren Aguirre (Pegasus Books)

    Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred (Bold Type Books)

    Catherine Raven, Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship (Spiegel & Grau)

    Lisa Wells, Believers: Making a Life at the End of World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

    Carl Zimmer, Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive (Duttonh Books)


    PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000) 

    Judges: Luke Dittrich, Paul Golob, Imani Perry 

    Katie Booth, The Invention of Miracles: Language, Power, and Alexander Graham Bell’s Quest to End Deafness (Simon & Schuster)

    Rebecca Donner, All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler (Little Brown and Company)

    Philip Hoare, Albert and the Whale: Albrecht Dürer and How Art Imagines Our World (Pegasus Books)

    Andrew D. Kaufman, The Gambler Wife: A True Story of Love, Risk, and the Woman Who Saved Dostoyevsky (Riverhead Books)

    Rebecca Solnit, Orwell’s Roses (Viking)


    PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000) 

    Judges: Emma Copley Eisenberg, Dr. K. Tsianina Lomawaima, Chanel Miller, Dagmawi Woubshet

    Andrea Elliott, Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City (Random House)

    Tiya Miles, All that She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family’s Keepsake (Random House)

    Reuben Jonathan Miller, Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration, (Little Brown and Company)

    Sarah Schulman, Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

    Clint Smith, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America (Little Brown and Company

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