PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize:
To a fiction writer whose debut work, published in 2011, represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.
by Vanessa Veselka (winner)
In a dystopian America on the verge of war, Della begins making phone calls about false bomb threats in her neighborhood, but realizes too late that she may be part of something bigger when someone starts bombing some of her phony targets.
Leaving the Atocha Station: a novel (M)
by Ben Lerner (runner up)
Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his relationship to art. What is actual when our experiences are mediated by language, technology, medication, and the arts? Is poetry an essential art form, or merely a screen for the reader’s projections?
PEN Open Book Award:
For an exceptional work of literature by an author of color published in 2011.
The Beautiful and the Damned: a portrait of the new India (M)
by Deb Siddhartha
The one book you need on the New India. In 2004, after six years in New York, Siddhartha Deb returned to India to look for a job. He discovered that sweeping change had overtaken the country. With the globalization of its economy, the relaxation of trade rules, the growth in technology, and the shrinking down of the state, a new India was being born. Deb realised he had found his job: to explore this vast, complex and bewildering nation and try to make sense of what was underway. The Beautiful and the Damned is the triumphant outcome. It is a virtuosic work that combines personal narrative, travalogue, reportage, penetrating analysis, and the stories of many individuals across a vast range of geographical and social cicumstances.
PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing:
For a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2011.
Bottom of the 33rd: hope, redemption, and baseball’s longest game (M)
by Dan Barry
From Pulitzer Prize-winning “New York Times” columnist Dan Barry comes the beautifully recounted story of the longest game in baseball history–a tale celebrating not only the robust intensity of baseball, but the aspirational ideal epitomized by the hard-fighting players of the minor leagues.
PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay:
For a book of essays published in 2011 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem of the essay form.
Arguably: essays (M)
by Christopher Hitchens
From one of the most admired public intellectuals of our time, and a multi-award winning and #1 bestselling author, comes a collection of his most important and controversial essays on the theme of culture and politics and how the two relate.