Announcing the 2018 Award for Fiction finalists:
Hernan Diaz for In the Distance (Coffee House Press)
Samantha Hunt for The Dark Dark (FSG Originals)
Achy Obejas for The Tower of the Antilles (Akashic Books)
Joan Silber for Improvement (Counterpoint)
Jesmyn Ward for Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner)
About the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalists:
In the Distance
(Coffee House Press)
Hernan Diaz is the author of In the Distance (Coffee House 2017) and Borges, Between History and Eternity (Bloomsbury 2012), managing editor of RHM, and associate director of the Hispanic Institute at Columbia University. He lives in New York.
The Dark Dark
Samantha Hunt is the author of The Dark Dark: Stories, and three novels: Mr. Splitfoot, The Invention of Everything Else, and The Seas. Hunt is the recipient of a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Bard Fiction Prize, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Prize and she was a finalist for the Orange Prize. She teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and lives in upstate New York.
The Tower of the Antilles
Achy Obejas is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins, Days of Awe, and three other books of fiction. She edited and translated (into English) the anthology Havana Noir, and has since translated Junot Díaz, Rita Indiana, Wendy Guerra, and many others. In 2014, she was awarded a USA Ford Fellowship for her writing and translation. The Tower of the Antilles is her latest work.
Joan Silber is the author of eight books of fiction. The most recent, Improvement, has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction and listed as one of the year’s best books by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Newsday, the Seattle Times, and Kirkus Reviews. Her previous book, Fools, was longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Other works include The Size of the World, finalist for the LA Times Fiction Prize, and Ideas of Heaven, finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize. She lives in New York and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program.
Sing, Unburied, Sing
Jesmyn Ward is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds, Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award, and Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner, 2017), which won the 2017 National Book Award and which will be published in paperback on May 8, 2018. She is also the editor of the anthology The Fire This Time (Scribner, 2016) and the author of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. From 2008-2010, Ward had a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. She was the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi for the 2010-2011 academic year. In 2016, the American Academy of Arts and Letters selected Ward for the Strauss Living Award. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2017. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan and is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University. She lives in Mississippi.
About the 2018 Judges:
Andrea Barrett is the author of six novels, most recently The Air We Breathe, and three collections of stories: Ship Fever, which received the 1996 National Book Award, Servants of the Map, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and, most recently, Archangel.
Stacey D’Erasmo is the author of the novels Tea, a New York Times Notable Book, and A Seahorse Year, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year and a Lambda Literary Award winner. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, and Ploughshares. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction, she is currently an assistant professor of writing at Columbia University. She lives in New York.
Alex Espinoza was born in Tijuana, Mexico. He came to the United States with his family at the age of two and grew up in suburban Los Angeles. Author of the novel Still Water Saints, he received an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. A recipient of the Margaret Bridgman Fellowship in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Espinoza is currently an associate professor of English at California State University, Los Angeles.
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About the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is a national prize which honors the best published works of fiction by American citizens in a calendar year. Three writers are chosen annually by the directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to serve as judges for the prize, and these judges are asked to select five books as finalists for the award, making this the largest peer-juried award in the country. Both the eventual winner of the award and all finalists are invited to Washington, D.C. for the PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony and Dinner.
Celebrating the winner as “first among equals,” the 38th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony will take place at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. The event will feature the judges’ citations for each finalist’s book, the conferral of the PEN/Faulkner Award, and a reading by each author.
Each year, the PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony & Dinner is open to the public. Tickets are available for purchase through the Box Office of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Call the Folger Box Office at (202) 544-7077 for more information.
A list of past winners and finalists of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction can be found here.