Notes from An Alien

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Tag Archives: PEN American Center

Shortlists Announced for the 2015 PEN Literary Awards


I’m still hard at work—currently massaging my mind with supportive writings—soon to begin notes leading to an outline—but, I thought the PEN Awards was worth sharing… 

Image from the PEN site

Image from the PEN site

2015 PEN LITERARY AWARD SHORTLISTS:

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2014—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.

JUDGES: Caroline Fraser, Katie Kitamura, Paul La Farge, and Victor LaValle

SHORTLIST:

The UnAmericans
Molly Antopol
(W. W. Norton & Company)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Ruby
Cynthia Bond
(Hogarth)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Redeployment
Phil Klay
(Penguin Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Dog
Jack Livings
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Love Me Back
Merritt Tierce
(Doubleday)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2014 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.

JUDGES: Diane Johnson, Dahlia Lithwick, Vijay Seshadri, and Mark Slouka

SHORTLIST:

Moral Imagination
David Bromwich
(Princeton University Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Theater of Cruelty
Ian Buruma
(New York Review Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Loitering
Charles D’Ambrosio
(Tin House Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Empathy Exams
Leslie Jamison
(Graywolf Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Limber
Angela Pelster
(Sarabande Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

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 2014.

JUDGES: Sue Halpern, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Carl Zimmer

SHORTLIST:

War of the Whales
Joshua Horwitz
(Simon & Schuster)
Amazon | Indie Bound

How We Got to Now
Steven Johnson
(Riverhead Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Sixth Extinction
Elizabeth Kolbert
(Henry Holt and Co.)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Age of Radiance
Craig Nelson
(Scribner)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Proof
Adam Rogers
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

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 2013 or 2014.

JUDGES: Andrew Blechman, Paul Elie, Azadeh Moaveni, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, and Paul Reyes

SHORTLIST:

Our Declaration
Danielle Allen
(Liveright)
Amazon | Indie Bound

League of Denial
Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru
(Crown Archetype)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Five Days at Memorial
Sheri Fink
(Crown)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Big Truck That Went By
Jonathan M. Katz
(Palgrave Macmillan)
Amazon | Indie Bound

This Changes Everything
Naomi Klein
(Simon & Schuster)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2014.

JUDGES: R. Erica Doyle, W. Ralph Eubanks, and Chinelo Okparanta

SHORTLIST:

An Unnecessary Woman
Rabih Alameddine
(Grove Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Every Day Is for the Thief
Teju Cole
(Random House)
Amazon | Indie Bound

An Untamed State
Roxane Gay
(Black Cat)
Amazon

Citizen: An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine
(Graywolf Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The City Son
Samrat Upadhyay
(Soho Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2014.

JUDGES: Emily Bernard, Nicholas Fox Weber, and Jon Meacham

SHORTLIST:

Rebel Yell
S. C. Gwynne
(Scribner)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
Jeff Hobbs
(Scribner)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Strange Glory
Charles Marsh
(Alfred A. Knopf)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Queen’s Bed
Anna Whitelock
(Sarah Crichton Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Piero’s Light
Larry Witham
(Pegasus Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2014.

JUDGES: Rich Cohen, George Dohrmann, and Jonathan Mahler

SHORTLIST:

Boy on Ice
John Branch
(W. W. Norton & Company)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Black Noon
Art Garner
(Thomas Dunne Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

All Fishermen are Liars
John Gierach
(Simon & Schuster)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Ping-Pong Diplomacy
Nicholas Griffin
(Scribner)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Deep
James Nestor
(Eamon Dolan Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2014.

JUDGE: Ana Božičević

SHORTLIST:

Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon
Translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi
(Action Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

I Am the Beggar of the World
Translated from the Pashto by Eliza Griswold
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Juana Inés de la Cruz
Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman
(W. W. Norton & Company)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Breathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan
Translated from the German by Pierre Joris
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Guantanamo by Frank Smith
Translated from the French by Vanessa Place
(Les Figues Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2014.

JUDGES: Heather Cleary, Lucas Klein, Tess Lewis, and Allison Markin Powell

SHORTLIST:

The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla
Translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush
(New York Review Books)
Amazon | Indie Bound

The Symmetry Teacher by Andrei Bitov
Translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt
Translated from the Danish by Denise Newman
(Two Lines Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Texas: The Great Theft by Carmen Boullosa
Translated from the Spanish by Samantha Schnee
(Deep Vellum Publishing)
Amazon | Indie Bound

Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye
Translated from the French by Jordan Stump
(Two Lines Press)
Amazon | Indie Bound
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Writers In A Surveillance Society . . .


I wrote about an auction PEN American Center was having of hand-annotated books by famous authors but didn’t stress the reason…

PEN, which is international, “…has two distinct yet complementary aims: to promote a literary culture and to protect freedom of expression.”

A recent article in The New York TimesWriters Say They Feel Censored by Surveillance, begins with:

“A survey of writers around the world by the PEN American Center has found that a significant majority said they were deeply concerned with government surveillance, with many reporting that they have avoided, or have considered avoiding, controversial topics in their work or in personal communications as a result.”

PEN surveyed “…fiction and nonfiction writers and related professionals, including translators and editors, in 50 countries.”

The executive director of the PEN American Center said, “Writers are the ones who experience encroachments on freedom of expression most acutely, or first….The idea that we are seeing some similar patterns in free countries to those we’ve traditionally associated with unfree countries is pretty distressing.”

“The survey found that mass surveillance by the United States government had damaged its reputation as a defender of free expression, with some 36 percent in other ‘free’ countries and 32 percent in ‘less free’ countries saying freedom of expression had less protection in the United States than in their nations.”

Naturally, the results of the survey were roundly criticized and painted as “overblown”

Yet, writers may be serving as the canaries in the mine of surveillance activities

The executive director of PEN also said:

“Just the fact that so many writers say they are deeply concerned and are actually changing their behavior is significant….Whether we consider it justified or not, it isn’t something that should be ignored.”

Perhaps writers’ fertile imaginations see the obvious attacks on their counterparts in totalitarian countries and imagine the “free” countries are watching them

Perhaps most of the world’s governments are watching writers—history shows how dangerous writers can be

What are your thoughts and feelings?

Are writers dangerous to governments?

Is that such a bad thing?

If you live in a relativity “free” country, do you think writers are under surveillance?

If you do think this is happening, do you think all writers respond the same?

Do you have any stories to share about writers who didn’t let surveillance shut them up?

Think there could be more subtle damage to a writer’s life, even if the surveillance hasn’t led to writers being arrested—pulling back on writing about certain topics—writing to please the masters?

You can read PEN’s survey results

You can also watch the trailer of an award-winning movie about surveillance of a writer


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Grab A Free Novel…
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Would You Like A Hand-Annotated, First Edition of An Acclaimed Book?


Hand-Annotated First Editions

Image from PEN American’s Auction Site — Don DeLillo’s Handwriting

I’ve just begun re-reading the novel I published nearly four years ago and I’m going to annotate it with notes for my next book which will live in the same universe

After I’d decided to engage in this strange activity, I discovered that a group of authors and artists have also been writing in their own books

Christie’s (New York) is holding an auction of 75 hand-annotated, first edition books to support PEN American Center‘s work to protect the freedom to write.

PEN American Center says:
“Through annotations including notes, essays, drawings, photographs, letters to the reader, and inserted memorabilia, each contributor has transformed a first edition of a classic work into a distinct new artifact for one lucky buyer.”

The auction starts Today at 7 p.m. EST, USA and you can bid online.

There’s a link to more auction information and a Fascinating Video below; but, first, here are the books:

Marina Abramovic, “Dream Book” — Woody Allen, “Play It Again, Sam” — John Ashbery, “The Tennis Court Oath” — Paul Auster, “City of Glass” — T.C. Boyle, “Descent of Man” — Peter Carey, “True History of the Kelly Gang” — Eric Carle, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” — Robert A. Caro, “The Power Broker” — Michael Chabon, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh”— Billy Collins, “Questions About Angels” — Michael Connelly, “The Black Echo” — Patricia Cornwell, “Postmortem” — Michael Cunningham, “The Hours” — Lydia Davis, “Break it Down”— Angela Y. Davis, “If They Come in the Morning”— Don DeLillo, “Underworld” — Junot Díaz, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” — E.L. Doctorow, “City of God” — Rita Dove, “Ten Poems” — Jennifer Egan, “A Visit from the Goon Squad” — Louise Erdrich, “Love Medicine” — Jules Feiffer, “Little Murders” — Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl”— Richard Ford, “The Sportswriter”— Neil Gaiman, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”— William Gass, “The Tunnel”— Malcolm Gladwell, “The Tipping Point”— Robert Gober, “Robert Gober: Sculpture and Drawing” — Sue Grafton, “‘A’ is for Alibi” — Roni Horn, “Bird” — Khaled Hosseini, “The Kite Runner” — Paul Karasik, “City of Glass: The Graphic Novel” — Garrison Keillor, “Lake Wobegon Days” — Barbara Kingsolver, “The Poisonwood Bible” — Joseph Kosuth, “Purloined” — Tony Kushner, “Angels in America” — Jhumpa Lahiri, “Interpreter of Maladies”  — Glenn Ligon, “Neon” — Peter Matthiessen, “The Snow Leopard” — David Mazzucchelli, “City of Glass: The Graphic Novel” — Julie Mehretu, “Grey Area” — Colum McCann, “Let the Great World Spin” — Jay McInerney, “Bright Lights, Big City” — Larry McMurtry, “Streets of Laredo” — Toni Morrison, “Beloved” — Paul Muldoon, “Knowing My Place” — Shirin Neshat, “Shirin Neshat: Untitled” — Joyce Carol Oates, “Them” — Yoko Ono, “Acorn” — Orhan Pamuk, “Snow” — Katherine Paterson, “Bridge to Terabithia” — Marilynne Robinson, “Housekeeping” — Philip Roth, “American Pastoral” and “Portnoy’s Complaint” — Ed Ruscha, “Past Stuff” — James Salter, “The Hunters” — George Saunders, “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline” — Simon Schama, “The Story of the Jews” — Richard Serra, “Richard Serra 2013” — Sam Shepard, “Buried Child” — David Simon, “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets” — Jane Smiley, “A Thousand Acres” — Kiki Smith, “Her Memory” — Patti Smith, “Just Kids” — Lemony Snicket, “The Bad Beginning” — Stephen Sondheim, “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” — Alec Soth, “Niagara” — Amy Tan, “The Joy Luck Club” — Colm Tóibín, “Brooklyn” — Fred Tomaselli, “Fred Tomaselli: Monsters of Paradise” — Anne Tyler, “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” — Alice Walker, “The Color Purple” — Lawrence Weiner, “NAU EM I ART BILONG YUMI” — Edmund White, “A Boy’s Own Story” — John Edgar Wideman, “Brothers and Keepers” — Tobias Wolff, “This Boy’s Life”

PEN American Center’s Auction Page (If you want Auction Updates scroll to the bottom of that page…)


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