By Dennis Abrams
PEN American Center, the largest branch of what is known as the world’s leading literary and human rights organization, today announced the shortlists for the 2013 PEN Literary Awards.
These awards are given to honor outstanding voices in literature, across such diverse fields as fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, and drama. In all, PEN will give out 16 distinct awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes in 2013, awarding nearly $150,000 to writers, editors, and translators.
“We are proud that PEN’S Literary Awards are the most comprehensive in the country,” said PEN Executive Director, Suzanne Nossel. “This year we saw a record number of submissions from both traditional and independent publishers, including an impressive showing of emerging authors — a true testament to the impact these awards have on the literary community, at home and abroad.”
The shortlists include:
PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, given to an author whose debut work — a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2012 — represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.
- A Land More Kind Than Home (William Morrow), Wiley Cash
- A Naked Singularity (University of Chicago Press), Sergio de la Pava
- My Only Wife (Dzanc Books), Jac Jemc
- Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain (W.W. Norton & Co.), Lucia Perillo
- Battleborn (Riverhead Books), Claire Vaye Watkins
PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction, given to an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues which ahs been publishing in the United States during 2011 or 2012.
- Iron Curtain (Doubleday), Anne Applebaum
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Random House), Katherine Boo
- Moby-Duck (Penguin Books), Donovan Hohn
- God’s Hotel (Riverhead Books), Victoria Sweet
PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing, to a writer of an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2012.
- Snakes (Scholastic), Nic Bishop
- Oh, No! (Schwartz & Wade Book), Candace Fleming and illustrator Andrea Castellani
- I Lay My Stitches Down (Eerdmans), Cynthia Grady and illustrator Michele Wood
- Those Rebels, John & Tom (Scholastic), Barbara Kerley and illustrator Edwin Fotheringham
- The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau (Eerdmans), Michelle Markel and illustrator Amanda Hall
PEN Translation Prize, for a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2012.
- A Long Day’s Evening by Bilge Karasu (City Lights Books), Aron Aji and Fred Stark
- Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector (New Directions), Alison Entrekin
- Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Rosalind Harvey
- The Cardboard House by Martin Adan (New Directions), Katherine Silver
- The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis Thelen (Overlook Press), Donald O. White
The final winners and runners-up will be announced later this summer and will be honored at the 2013 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on Monday, October 21, 2013, at CUNY Graduate Center’s Proshansky Auditorium in New York City.