PEN America literary awards 2022 finalists

The finalists for the PEN America literary awards 2022 were announced today, Thursday, January 27, 2022. Here are the writers of African descent in the running.

PEN America is an organization that works to defend and celebrate free expression in the United States through the advancement of literature and human rights since it was founded in 1922. They hold annual awards celebrating outstanding voices in translation, fiction, poetry, science writing, essay, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, and drama since 1963. The longlisted nominees were announced today and there are many writers of African descent in the running for the $350,000 prize money on offer. They longlists for the prize were revealed on December 15 before the finalists became known. Those still in the running are;

PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD ($75,000)

To a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact, which has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence.

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

  • The Trees: A Novel, Percival Everett (Graywolf Press)
  • Milk Blood Heat, Dantiel W. Moniz (Grove Press)

PEN OPEN BOOK AWARD ($10,000)

To an exceptional book-length work of any literary genre by an author of color.

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

  • Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts, Rebecca Hall (Simon & Schuster)
  • Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir, Rajiv Mohabir (Restless Books)
  • Curb, Divya Victor (Nightboat Books)

PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT SHORT STORY COLLECTION ($25,000)

To an author whose debut collection of short stories represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise for future work.

Judges: Ling Ma, Manuel Muñoz, Oscar Villalon

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

PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FOR DEBUT NOVEL ($10,000)

To a debut novel of exceptional literary merit by an American author.

Judges: Zeyn Joukhadar, Téa Obreht, Daniel Torday

  • Dear Miss Metropolitan: A Novel, Carolyn Ferrell (Henry Holt & Company)
  • The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Novel, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (Harper)

PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAY ($15,000)

For a seasoned writer whose collection of essays is an expansion on their corpus of work and preserves the distinguished art form of the essay.

Judges: Jason DeParle, Hua Hsu, Marilynne Robinson

  • A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance, Hanif Abdurraqib (Random House)
  • Black Paper: Writing in a Dark Time, Teju Cole (University of Chicago Press)

PEN/VOELCKER AWARD FOR POETRY COLLECTION ($5,000)

To a poet whose distinguished collection of poetry represents a notable and accomplished literary presence.

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

  • Sho, Douglas Kearney (Wave Books)
  • Mutiny, Phillip B. Williams (Penguin Books)

PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NONFICTION ($10,000)

For a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective that illuminates important contemporary issues.

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

  • All that She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family’s Keepsake, Tiya Miles (Random House)
  • Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration, Reuben Jonathan Miller (Little Brown and Company)
  • How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, Clint Smith (Little Brown and Company)

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in New York City on February 28, 2022.