The PEN American Center has announced the winners of its 2012 literary awards, which will give a total of $175,000 to 18 writers and translators.
PEN American Center, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, is the U.S. branch of the world's oldest international literary and human rights organization. Its 3,400 members are writers, editors and translators working in the United States. Award winners are chosen by panels of members who work in the award field.
Two of the awards are being given by PEN American for the first time. The PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, founded by bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver in 2000 and given in partnership with PEN starting this year, will be presented to Susan Nussbaum for her manuscript Good Kings Bad Kings. The award includes a publishing contract for the novel with Algonquin Books and a cash prize of $25,000.
The other new prize, the $5,000 PEN/Steven Kroll Award for text in an illustrated picture book, will go to Patricia C. McKissack for Never Forgotten.
This year's PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, with a $25,000 prize, will be presented to novelist E.L. Doctorow, whose books include Ragtime, World's Fair and The March. His work has received the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and many other accolades.
James Gleick's The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood was chosen for the $10,000 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. The $5,000 PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing goes to Dan Jenkins, a longtime writer for Sports Illustrated and other publications and author of such books as Semi-Tough and Dead Solid Perfect.
Vanessa Veselka's novel Zazen will receive the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for a debut work of fiction.
The awards will be presented in New York City on Oct. 23. For a complete list of winners and runnersup, go to pen.org/blog.