Thursday, March 3, 2011

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Nominees for the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction have just been announced:

  • Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
  • Deborah Eisenberg, The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
  • Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule
  • Eric Puchner, Model Home
  • Brad Watson, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives
This year's judges are Laura Furman, William Kittredge, and Helena Maria Viramontes, who read approximately 320 novels and short story collections to determine the finalists. The winner, "first among equals," will be announced on March 15, and all will be feted in an award ceremony on May 7. You can read more about each of the finalists and their books by clicking here.

The PEN/Faulkner Award was established in 1980 by National Book Award winner Mary Lee Settle and was first awarded in 1981. Her goal was to create a national prize honoring literary fiction of excellence, juried by writers for writers, free of commercial concerns. The prize was named for William Faulkner, who used his Nobel Prize funds to establish an award for younger writers, and PEN, the international writers' organization. The award honors the best published works of fiction by American writers in a calendar year. Three judges, all writers, select five books from among the more than 300 works submitted (there are no submission fees). Last year's winner was Sherman Alexie, for War Dances. The finalists were Barbara Kingsolver (The Lacuna), Lorraine M. Lopez (Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories), Lorrie Moore (A Gate at the Stairs), and Colson Whitehead (Sag Harbor).

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