Teju Cole. Photo by Tim Knox
PEN America has announced the finalists for its annual literary awards. Teju Cole is a finalist in two categories fo rhis essay collection, "Known and Strange Things" -- the first time this has happened in PEN history.
It’s a long, impressive and inspiring list, so let’s get right to it. I’ll include links to Star Tribune reviews when available.Also, note at the end of the list--several of these writers will be in the Twin Cities this spring.
PEN/Jean Stein Book Award ($75,000): To recognize a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact.
Known and Strange Things (Random House), Teju Cole
Olio (Wave Books), Tyehimba Jess
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between (Random House), Hisham Matar
Dark Money (Doubleday/Penguin Random House), Jane Mayer
The Underground Railroad (Doubleday/Penguin Random House), Colson Whitehead
PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): For a fiction writer whose debut work represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise
Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky), Rion Amilcar Scott
We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books/UNC Wilmington), Clare Beams
The Mothers (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House), Brit Bennett
Homegoing (Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House), Yaa Gyasi
Hurt People (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux), Cote Smith
PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays that exemplifies the dignity and esteem of the essay form.
The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood (Graywolf Press), Belle Boggs
Known and Strange Things (Random House), Teju Cole
A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and The Mind (Simon & Schuster), Siri Hustvedt
The Girls in My Town (University of New Mexico Press), Angela Morales
Becoming Earth (Red Hen Press), Eva Saulitis
PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): For a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown/Penguin Random House), Matthew Desmond
The Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (W.W. Norton & Company), Patrick Phillips
Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic (Bloomsbury), Sam Quinones
Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House), Laura Secor
Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship (Doubleday/Penguin Random House), Anjan Sundaram
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.
Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets (Random House), Luke Dittrich
Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History (Basic Books/Perseus Book Group), Dan Flores
How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of a Private Spaceflight (Penguin Press/Penguin Random House), Julian Guthrie
Lab Girl (Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House), Hope Jahren
The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World’s Most Coveted Fish (Scribner/Simon & Schuster), Emily Voigt
PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional work of literature by an author of color.
The Book of Memory (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux), Petina Gappah
The Big Book of Exit Strategies (Alice James Books/University of Maine at Farmington), Jamaal May
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House), Helen Oyeyemi
Look (Graywolf Press), Solmaz Sharif
Blackacre (Graywolf Press), Monica Youn
PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): For a nonfiction book on the subject of sports.
The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers (HarperCollins), Michael Leahy
Catching the Sky (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster), Colten Moore with Keith O’Brien
Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA (Portfolio/Penguin Random House), Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss
Playing Through the Whistle: Steel, Football, and an American Town (Atlantic Monthly Press/Grove Atlantic), S.L. Price
Fastpitch: The Untold History of the Softball and the Women Who Made the Game (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster), Erica Westly
PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography.
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright/W.W. Norton & Company), Ruth Franklin
Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux), Joe Jackson
A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley (W.W. Norton & Company), Jane Kamensky
Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer (HarperCollins), Arthur Lubow
Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White (HarperCollins), Michael Tisserand (Review forthcoming)
PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English.
Confessions by Rabee Jaber (New Directions) translated from the Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid
Between Life and Death by Yoram Kaniuk (Restless Books) translated from the Hebrew by Barbara Harshav
Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap (Archipelago Books) translated from the German by Tess Lewis
Justine by Iben Mondrup (Open Letter Books) translated from the Danish by Kerri A. Pierce
The Vegetarian by Han Kang (Hogarth/Crown Publishing/Penguin Random House) translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith
PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English.
Pearl: A New Verse Translation (Liveright/ W.W. Norton & Company) translated from the Middle English by Simon Armitage
Abyss by Ya Hsien (Zephyr Press) translated from the Chinese by John Balcom
Preludes and Fugues by Emmanuel Moses (Oberlin College Press) translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker
In Praise of Defeat by Abdellatif Laâbi (Archipelago Books) translated from the French by Donald Nicholson Smith
Absolute Solitude by Dulce Maria Loynaz (Archipelago Books) translated from the Spanish by James O’Connor
Writers coming to town:
Yaa Gyasi will be in Eden Prairie at 6 p.m. March 6, St Andrew Lutheran Church, 13600 Technology Drive
Eden Prairie. $5.
Hope Jahren will be in MInneapolis at 7 p.m. Jan. 23, Hoverstein Chapel, Augsburg College.
Michael Tisserand will be at Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Av., S., Mpls., at 7 p.m. Feb. 9