PEN America recently announced the longlist for the 2023 annual literary awards. Six African authors made it to the longlist!
This year, the longlist features six African writers in the following five categories: the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, the PEN Open Book Award, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection, and the PEN Translation Prize.
2023 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award
The highly competitive PEN/Jean Stein Book Award ($75,000) is awarded to a book-length work of any genre for “its originality, merit, and impact, which has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting influence.”
Both Noor Naga‘s novel If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English and Sofia Samatar‘s memoir The White Mosque have been longlisted for this award.
2023 PEN Open Book Award
The PEN Open Book Award ($10,000) is awarded to “an exceptional book-length work of any literary genre by an author of color.”
Hafizah Augustus Geter‘s memoir The Black Period: On Personhood, Race, and Origin has been featured in this longlist. Geter has been longlisted for this same prize previously in 2021 for her debut poetry collection Un-American. We wish her good luck this time around!
2023 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection
The PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection ($25,000) is awarded to an author whose debut collection of short stories represents “distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise for future work.”
Meron Hadero‘s short story collection A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times has been longlisted for this prestigious award.
2023 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection
The PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection ($5,000) is awarded to a poet whose “distinguished collection of poetry represents a notable and accomplished literary presence.”
Chris Abani‘s poetry collection Smoking the Bible has been featured in this longlist.
2023 PEN Translation Prize
The PEN Translation Prize ($3,000) is awarded for a book-length translation of prose from any language into English.
Translated from French by Alison Anderson, Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse‘s novel All Your Children, Scattered has been longlisted for this award.
The shortlist will be announced later in February. Stay tuned for more news.
Congratulations to Noor Naga, Sofia Samatar, Hafizah Augustus Geter, Meron Hadero, Chris Abani, and Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse!