PEN American Center, the New York City–based branch of the world’s leading literary and human rights organization, has announced the winners of the 2013 PEN literary awards.
First-time novelist Sergio De La Pava received the organization’s most lucrative award, the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, given annually for a debut work of fiction. A Naked Singularity, De La Pava’s novel about the son of Columbian immigrants, was originally self-published in 2008 before being picked up by the University of Chicago Press.
Katherine Boo won the $10,000 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction for Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House), which won the National Book Award in nonfiction last year. Robert Hass received the $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for his collection What Light Can Do (Ecco). The awards are given to writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as translators, playwrights, young adult authors, and editors.
“Every year PEN’s literary awards recognize the brightest lights in literary fiction and nonfiction and honor the sustained careers of writers who are distinguished in their fields, raising awareness for a diverse array of outstanding books,” said PEN President Peter Godwin. “These awards represent the best of PEN’s work in defense of free expression throughout the world—fighting censorship, promoting translations into English, and honoring both the new and well-known authors who make up the core of PEN as an organization. Their voices amplify our advocacy work.”
The winners and finalists will be honored at a ceremony at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City on October 21. Visit the PEN American website for more information on the annual awards program.