Last night in New York City, the PEN American Center honored the recipients of the 2016 PEN Literary Awards. A selection of winners were announced in February; the winners of the following five awards were announced live at the ceremony.
Mia Alvar won the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction for her story collection, In the Country (Knopf). Helon Habila, Elizabeth McCracken, Edie Meidav, and Jess Row judged. “It is rare to find a debut of such depth and breadth, work singing with the grace of a thousand doomed lifetimes compressed into stories both luminous and empathic, populated by memorable characters facing such keenly felt challenges,” the judges wrote.
Ta-Nehisi Coates took home the $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for Art of the Essay for his critically acclaimed epistolary memoir, Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau).
The PEN Open Book Award went to Rick Barot for his third poetry collection, Chord (Sarabande Books).
Lauren Redniss won the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future (Random House).
Jean Guerrero received the inaugural PEN/FUSION emerging writers prize for her manuscript “Crux.” The $10,000 prize was established in 2015 to recognize an unpublished nonfiction manuscript by a writer under the age of thirty-five.
Meanwhile, novelist and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison was honored with the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.
This year, PEN will confer approximately $200,000 in awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes to writers and translators. Visit PEN’s website for a complete list of the 2016 Literary Award–winners.
(Photo: Mia Alvar, Credit: Deborah Lopez)
Watch a video of the awards ceremony below: