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PEN announces winners of its 2013 awards

August 14, 2013|By Carolyn Kellogg | This post has been corrected. See the note below.
  • Sergio de la Pava, author of "A Naked Singularity," and Katherine Boo, author of "Behind the Beautiful Forevers," are two winners of the 2013 PEN Awards.
Sergio de la Pava, author of "A Naked Singularity," and Katherine… (University of Chicago Press…)

A 688-page debut novel and a nonfiction book that has already racked up a shelf of prizes, including the National Book Award, led the PEN 2013 Awards, which were announced Wednesday.

Sergio de la Pava's novel, "A Naked Singularity," will be awarded the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for first fiction. Katherine Boo will take home $10,000 for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction for her book reporting on a Mumbai slum, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers."

Two other PEN awards come with $10,000 prizes: the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, which will go to Robert Hass for his collection "What Light Can Do," and PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, which will go to Leonard Mlodinow for "Subliminal."

The PEN Awards will be presented at a ceremony in New York on Oct. 21. The organization will present 16 prizes, giving away nearly $150,000 to writers, editors and translators. The shortlist was announced in July.

The complete list of winners is below.

PEN American Center 2013 awards winners

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): To an author whose debut work — a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2012 — represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise. Judges: Tom Drury, Danielle Evans and Donald Ray Pollock. Winner: Sergio de la Pava for "A Naked Singularity" (University of Chicago Press).

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): To an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues which has been published in the United States during 2011 or 2012. Judges: Eliza Griswold, Maya Jasanoff and Edward Mendelson. Winner: Katherine Boo for "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" (Random House).

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2012 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature. Judges: Sven Birkerts, Robert Gottlieb and Mark Kramer. Winner: Robert Hass for "What Light Can Do" (Ecco).

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 2012. Judges: Deborah Blum, Katherine Bouton and Jerome Groopman. Winner: Leonard Mlodinow for "Subliminal" (Vintage Books).

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2012. Judges: Cyrus Cassells, Porochista Khakpour and Tiphanie Yanique. Winners: Gina Apostol for "Gun Dealers’ Daughter" (W.W.  Norton & Co.) and Kevin Young for "The Grey Album" (Graywolf Press).

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2012. Judges: Debby Applegate, Peter Orner and Charles Shields. Winner: Tom Reiss for "The Black Count" (Broadway Books).

PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To a writer whose body of work represents an exceptional contribution to the field. Judges: David Granger, Laura Hillenbrand, and Steve Isenberg. Winner: Frank Deford for "Over Time" (Grove Press).

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2012. Judges: Jane Leavy, William Leitch and Ben McGrath. Winner: Mark Kram Jr. for "Like Any Normal Day" (St. Martin's Press).

PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ($5,000): To a writer for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2012. Judges: Barbara Shook Hazen, David Wiesner and Cheryl Willis Hudson. Winner: Michelle Markel for "The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau" (Eerdmans), illustrated by Amanda Hall.

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2012. Judge: Don Mee Choi. Winner: Molly Weigel for "The Shock of the Lenders and Other Poems" by Jorge Santiago Perednik (Action Books).

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2012. Judges: Margaret Carson, Bill Johnston and Alex Zucker. Winner: Donald O. White for "The Island of Second Sight" by Albert Vigoleis Thelen (Overlook Press).

[For the Record, 10:51 a.m. Aug. 27: An earlier version of this post omitted Mark Kram Jr., who won the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. That award was incorrectly attributed to Frank Deford, who won the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing.]


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