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G&A: The Contest Blog

The Academy of American Poets has announced two changes to its distinguished Walt Whitman Award, making it the most valuable first-book award for poetry in the United States. In addition to a $5,000 cash prize, the winner of the 2015 award will receive publication of his or her manuscript by Graywolf Press, and a six-week all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy.

Established in 1975, the annual prize is given to an emerging poet who has not yet published a book. The 2015 judge will be Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Tracy K. Smith.

“The partnership with the Academy affirms Graywolf Press’s forty-year commitment to publish the work of important new poets,” said Graywolf Executive Editor Jeffrey Shotts in a press release. “It seems fitting to announce this collaboration thirty years after Graywolf published Christopher Gilbert’s Walt Whitman Award–winning Across the Mutual Landscape in 1984. We simply cannot wait to see what new marvels are ahead through the award and through our work with the Academy of American Poets."

The Civitella Ranieri Center has hosted creative writers, composers, and visual artists since 1995. Residents are provided with room, board, and studio or work space in a fifteenth-century castle in rural Umbria. “This new affiliation will add to our history of outstanding poetry Fellows,” said director Dana Prescott. “We look forward to welcoming future recipients of the Walt Whitman Award to our particularly magical corner of Italy.”

Using the online submission system, poets who have not yet published a full-length book of poetry may submit a manuscript of 48 to 100 pages with a $35 entry fee between September 1 and November 1. Visit the website for complete submission guidelines.

The Academy will also purchase copies of the winning book for distribution to five thousand of its members, and will feature the poet and his or her work in its magazine, American Poets, and on its website. The winner will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to attend the Academy's awards ceremony.

The 2014 winner was Hannah Sanghee Park for her collection The Same-Different, which will be published by Louisiana State University Press next year.

Photo: Civitella Ranieri Center

The New York City–based PEN American Center has announced the winners of the 2014 PEN Literary Awards. The annual awards honor emerging and established writers in a range of genres, including poetry, fiction, biography, children’s literature, sports writing, science writing, translation, and drama. This year PEN will award nearly $150,000 in prize money.

“Celebrating the written word is an essential part of defending it,” said PEN President Peter Goodwin, “and it is through PEN’s literary awards that we continue to honor some of the most exceptional books and bodies of work that free expression makes possible.” PEN has awarded its literary awards for over 50 years.

James Wolcott won the $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for his essay collection Critical Mass (Doubleday). Geoff Dyer, Stanley Fish, Ariel Levy, and Cheryl Strayed judged. The annual award is given for an essay collection published in the previous year that exemplifies the dignity and esteem the essay form imparts to literature.

Dr. Carl Hart won the $10,000 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for High Price (Harper). Akiko Busch, Rivka Galchen, and Eileen Pollack judged. The annual award is given for a book of literary nonfiction published in the previous year on the subject of the physical or biological sciences.

Ruth Ellen Kocher and Nina McConigley both won the $5,000 PEN Open Book Award, given for an exceptional book published in the previous year and written by an author of color. Kocher won for her poetry collection domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press); McConigley won for her short story collection Cowboys and East Indians (FiveChapters Books). Catherine Chung, Randa Jarrar, and Monica Youn judged.

Frank Bidart won the $5,000 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, which is given biennially to a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work to date represents a notable and accomplished presence in American literature. Peg Boyers, Toi Derricotte, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips judged.

Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley won the $3,000 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for Diaries of Exile (Archipelago Books), a poetry collection by the Greek poet, Yannis Ritsos. Kimiko Hahn judged. The annual award is given for a book-length translation of poetry into English published in the previous year.

Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov won the $3,000 PEN Translation Prize for their translation from the Russian of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s short story collection Autobiography of a Corpse (New York Review of Books). Ann Goldstein, Becka McKay, and Katherine Silver judged. The annual award is given for a book-length translation of prose into English published in the previous year.

The winners will be honored at PEN’s annual literary awards ceremony, held this year on September 29 at the New School in New York City. At the ceremony, PEN will announce the winners of the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the $25,000 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. Ron Childress, who won the $25,000 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for his unpublished novel And West is West, will also be honored at the ceremony.

The shortlist and the longlist, issued for the first time this year, for each prize can be found on PEN’s website.

The Man Booker Prize Foundation announced the longlist today for the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. This year marks the first time in the prize's history that any author, irrespective of nationality, with work written originally in English and published in the United Kingdom, is eligible to win.

The longlist includes Howard Jacobson, a former Man Booker winner, for J (Jonathan Cape); two previously shortlisted authors, Ali Smith for How to Be Both (Hamish Hamilton) and David Mitchell for The Bone Clocks (Sceptre); and the Anglo-Indian writer Neel Mukherjee for The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus). The American writers making the longlist are Richard Powers for Orfeo (Atlantic Books), Siri Hustvedt for The Blazing World (Sceptre), Joshua Ferris for To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking), and Karen Joy Fowler for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail). British writers Paul Kingsnorth for The Wake (Unbound) and David Nicholls for Us (Hodder & Stoughton); Tasmanian writer Richard Flanagan for The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus); and Irish writers Joseph O’Neill for The Dog (Fourth Estate) and Niall Williams for History of the Rain (Bloomsbury) round out the list.


The panel of six judges is chaired by British philosopher A. C. Grayling. The decision to expand the prize this year has been controversial; previously the prize was restricted to authors from Britain and other countries in the Commonwealth, as well as Ireland and Zimbabwe. Last year, Eleanor Catton, a novelist from New Zealand, won the prize for her 832-page novel The Luminaries. At 28, Catton was the youngest recipient of the award in its forty-five-year history. 

The shortlist will be announced on September 9, and the winner—who will receive a £50,000 (approximately $85,177) purse—will be announced on October 14.

Photos: Fowler (left), Ferris (right)

The Young Translators’ Prize, sponsored by Harvill Secker, a British imprint of Random House, is currently open for submissions. The annual prize is given to an emerging translator, ages 18 to 34, for the translation of a specific story into English. The winner will receive £1,000 (approximately $1,360), a selection of Harvill Secker titles, and airfare and lodging to participate in the Crossing Border Festival held in November 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The winner will also be invited to participate in the British Center for Literary Translation’s mentorship program with translator and judge Shaun Whiteside.

This year’s prize will be given for a translation from the German of the story “Der Hausfreund” by German fiction writer Julia Franck. Submit a translation with the required entry form by postal mail to Harvill Secker, Random House Group Limited, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA, England. The postmark deadline is August 1; there is no entry fee. Joint translations are eligible. Translators who have not published a book-length work of translation are eligible. Fiction writer A. S. Byatt, translators Sally-Ann Spencer and Shaun Whiteside, and Harvill Secker editor Ellie Steel will judge. The winner will be chosen in September.

Julia Franck has published two novels in German: The Blind Side of the Heart (Vintage Books, 2009), about a German family during the Cold War, and Back to Back (Vintage Books, 2013), about a German family during World War I and II. English translator Anthea Bell has translated her novels into English. Franck said in an interview with the British organization Booktrust, “Translations are a gift—especially if we can’t read other languages. Reading is always a chance to learn about other lives, cultures, and human beings. Through language we can get to know another way of thinking, a way of looking, and when a book strikes us, it is as if we have a few hours of a completely different life.”

Established in 2010, the prize is cosponsored with the British Centre for Literary Translation and, starting this year, the Goethe-Institut London. The prize, which honors translations from different languages each year, has been awarded to translators of Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish.

Lucy Greaves of Bristol, England, won last year’s award for her translation from the Portuguese of Adriana Lisboa’s story “O sucesso.” Ninety-two entries from nine countries were submitted for the prize. Greaves’s winning translation can be read on Granta, which has published the translations of all four previous winners.

Photo: Julia Franck, credit Mathias Bothor

The Library of Congress’s Poetry and Literature Center is accepting nominations for the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. The biennial prize is given for a poetry collection written by a U.S. citizen and published in the previous two years, or for lifetime achievement in poetry. The winner will receive $10,000 and will give a public reading in the fall.

Publishers may submit four copies of a book published in 2012 or 2013, along with the required entry form and a suggested $50 contribution to the Library of Congress by postal mail to Bobbitt Prize, Poetry and Literature Center, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540. The postmark deadline is July 31. Books published in a standard edition of at least 1,000 copies are eligible. A collected or selected work is eligible only if it contains at least 30 poems previously unpublished in a book. A three-person jury and the Librarian of Congress, James Billington, will judge.

Established in 1990, the Bobbitt prize is given by the family of Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt (1910-1978). Bobbitt, who worked at the Library of Congress in the 1930s, was the late President Lyndon B. Johnson’s sister.

Gerald Stern won the 2012 Bobbitt Prize for Early Collected Poems: 1965-1992 (Norton, 2010). Other winners of the prize include James Merrill, Louise Glück, A. R. Ammons, Kenneth Koch, Frank Bidart, W. S. Merwin, and Lucia Perillo.

Submissions are currently open for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, sponsored by Claremont Graduate University. The $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Award is given annually to honor a poetry collection by a midcareer U.S. poet; the winner will also spend a week at Claremont Graduate University in California giving readings, lectures, and workshops. The $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award is given annually to honor a first book of poetry by “a poet of genuine promise.”

Poets, publishers, agents, or friends may submit eight copies of a poetry collection published between September 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, with a list of previously published work and the required entry form by July 1. There is no entry fee. The preliminary judges are Charles Altieri, Jennifer Chang, and Brian Kim Stefans. David Barber, Stephen Burt, Kate Gale, Wendy Martin, and Chase Twichell will serve as final judges.

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award offers one of the world’s largest monetary prizes for a single poetry collection. Established in 1993 by Kate Tufts, the widow of poet Kingsley Tufts, the prize is meant to “enable a poet to work on his or her craft for awhile without paying bills.” The Kate Tufts Discovery Award was started one year later in 1994.

Previous winners of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award include Afaa Michael Weaver, Marianne Boruch, Timothy Donnelly, Chase Twichell, D. A. Powell, Matthea Harvey, and Tom Sleigh. Recent winners of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award include Yona Harvey, Heidy Steidlmayer, Katherine Larson, Asturo Riley, Beth Bachmann, Matthew Dickman, and Janice N. Harrington. Read more about the 2014 winners on the G&A blog.

Photo: Kate Tufts

PEN American Center has announced the shortlist for its annual literary awards, which this year will give nearly $150,000 in prize money to established and emerging writers and translators. The awards are given for works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, translation, and children’s books.

“The PEN Literary Awards bring together writers, editors, and members of the literary community to celebrate the ultimate fruit of free expression: great literature,” said PEN Executive Director, Suzanne Nossel. “These shortlists represent a remarkable array of diverse talents.” In May, PEN issued the first longlist for the awards, in an effort to bring greater attention to the books submitted for the prizes.

The final winners will be announced on September 29 in New York City at the PEN Awards Ceremony, cosponsored by the New School.

On Wednesday night, PEN also announced Ron Childress as the winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. The biennial prize, founded and funded by novelist Barbara Kingsolver, is given for an unpublished novel by an author whose work “addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships.” Childress will receive $25,000, and his novel And West Is West will be published by Algonquin Books in Fall 2015. Terry McMillan, Nancy Peral, and Kathy Pories judged.

Established in 1922, the New York City–based PEN American Center works to “ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to make it possible for everyone to access the views, ideas, and literature of others.” PEN American Center has administered its Literary Awards for almost 50 years.

Below is a full list of finalists in each category:

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2013—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Hogarth), Anthony Marra
Brief Encounters With the Enemy
(The Dial Press), Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
Everybody’s Irish
(FiveChapters Books), Ian Stansel
Godforsaken Idaho
(Little A/New Harvest), Shawn Vestal
The People in the Trees
(Doubleday), Hanya Yanagihara

Judges: Charles Bock, Jonathan Dee, Fiona Maazel, and Karen Shepard

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2013 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem the essay form imparts to literature.

Forty-One False Starts (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Janet Malcolm
Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls
(Little, Brown and Company), David Sedaris
The Faraway Nearby
(Viking Adult), Rebecca Solnit
Critical Mass
(Doubleday), James Wolcott

Judges: Geoff Dyer, Stanley Fish, Ariel Levy, and Cheryl Strayed

PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): For a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical or biological sciences published in 2013.

The End of Night (Little, Brown and Company), Paul Bogard
Five Days at Memorial
(Crown), Sheri Fink
High Price
(Harper), Carl Hart
Surfaces and Essences
(Basic Books), Douglas Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander
Wild Ones
(Penguin Press), Jon Mooallem

Judges: Akiko Busch, Rivka Galchen, and Eileen Pollack

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2013.

Duppy Conqueror (Copper Canyon Press), Kwame Dawes
Leaving Tulsa
(University of Arizona Press), Jennifer Elise Foerster
domina Un/blued
(Tupelo Press), Ruth Ellen Kocher
Cowboys and East Indians
(FiveChapters Books), Nina McConigley
Ghana Must Go
(Penguin Press), Taiye Selasi

Judges: Catherine Chung, Randa Jarrar, and Monica Youn

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2013.

Lawrence in Arabia (Doubleday), Scott Anderson
Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Linda Leavell
Margaret Fuller
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Megan Marshall
American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Deborah Solomon
A Life of Barbara Stanwyck
(Simon & Schuster), Victoria Wilson

Judges: James Atlas, Lisa Cohen, and Wendy Gimbel

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2013.

Collision Low Crossers (Little, Brown and Company), Nicholas Dawidoff
The Sports Gene
(Current), David Epstein
League of Denial
(Crown Archetype), Mark Fainaru-Wada & Steve Fainaru
The Emerald Mile
(Scribner), Kevin Fedarko
Their Life’s Work
(Simon & Schuster), Gary M. Pomerantz

Judges: Joel Drucker, Chad Harbach, and Jackie MacMullan

PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ($5,000): To a writer for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2013.

Train (Orchard Books), Elisha Cooper
Tea Party Rules
(Viking), Ame Dyckman
The King of Little Things
(Peachtree Publishers), Bil Lepp
Crabtree
(McSweeney’s McMullens), Jon & Tucker Nichols

Judges: Mac Barnett, Ted Lewin, and Elizabeth Winthrop

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2013.

Even Now: Poems by Hugo Claus (Archipelago), David Colmer
Diaries of Exile
by Yannis Ritsos (Archipelago), Karen Emmerich & Edmund Keeley
Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson
by Yosa Buson (Copper Canyon Press), Takako Lento & W.S. Merwin
Paul Klee’s Boat
by Anzhelina Polonskaya (Zephyr Press), Andrew Wachtel
Cut These Words Into My Stone: Ancient Greek Epitaphs
(Johns Hopkins University Press), Michael Wolfe

Judge: Kimiko Hahn

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2013.

An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman (New York Review Books), Elizabeth & Robert Chandler
Transit
by Anna Seghers (New York Review Books), Margot Bettauer Dembo
The African Shore
by Rodrigo Rey Rosa (Yale University Press), Jeffrey Gray
The Emperor’s Tomb
by Joseph Roth (New Directions), Michael Hofmann
Autobiography of a Corpse
by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (New York Review Books), Joanne Turnbull & Nikolai Formozov

Judges: Ann Goldstein, Becka McKay, and Katherine Silver

Photo: Ron Childress, credit PEN American Center

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