2023 PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration

Thursday, May 11, 2023
6 pm: cocktails, 7 pm: award celebration, 8 pm: dinner
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library
Cocktail Attire

An Event to Remember for Contemporary Fiction Lovers

Our 43nd Annual PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration on May 11, 2023 honored this year’s distinguished books and authors. This exquisite literary evening featured presentations by our judges; original readings by our winner and four finalists; and a celebration of Terry Gross, our 2023 PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion.


PEN/Faulkner Award Winner
Yiyun Li

PEN/Faulkner Award Finalists
Jonathan Escoffery
Kathryn Harlan
Dionne Irving
Laura Warrell

PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion
Terry Gross


2023 Judges
Christopher Bollen
R. O. Kwon
Tiphanie Yanique

Master of Ceremonies
Ron Charles

Featured Speaker
Michel Martin


Elliot Ackerman & Lea Carpenter
Katherine Boone & Joshua Geltzer


Marie Arana & Jonathan Yardley
Jabari & Liana Asim
Louis Bayard & Don Montuori
Katherine & David Bradley
The Honorable Ann Brown
Lauren Cerand
Susan Coll & Paul Goldberg
East City Bookshop
The Efrein Foundation
Molly Elkin & Ivan Wasserman
Lauren Francis-Sharma & Anand Sharma
The Garcia Family Spotlight Foundation


Renée & Stephen Gardner
Susan Ginsburg & Mario Velasquez
Ginny Grenham & Paul Zevnik
Patricia Griffith
Mary & Robert Haft
Linette S. Hwu
Ingram Content Group
The Ivy Bookshop
Jonathan & Laura Kravis
Willee & Finlay Lewis
Lost City Books
Loyalty Bookstores
Sophia McCrocklin & William Isaacson
The Honorable Mary Mochary
Neon Literary
Erich Parker & Jeffrey Dale Lofton
Malcolm & Virginia O’Hagan

John & Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Politics & Prose


Jane Evans Ramsay
Susan Shaffer Rappaport
Adrianna Smith Reig & Paz
Relegation Books
Lucy S. Rhame
Jojo Ruf & David Krum
Bari Schwartz & Barry Hager
Eileen Shields-West & John Robinson West
Shreve Williams Public Relations
Joan H. Simmons
Clay Smith & Tomás Rivera
Karen & Bill Sonneborn
Deborah Tannen & Michael Macovski
Martha Anne Toll & Daniel Becker
Katharine Weymouth
J. Gregory Whitehead
Catherine Wyler & Richard Rymland
Jung Yun & Joel Anderson

 *This list is current as of May 8, 2023.

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2023 Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

“I am deeply honored, thrilled, and grateful for this award. Writing a novel is like sending a message in a bottle to the unknown. To receive this recognition is a heartwarming confirmation that someone has found the bottle and read the message. My deepest gratitude to the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, to the judges, and to my fellow finalists: it’s always a good day when people read literature with care and thoughtfulness.”

Yiyun Li, author of The Book of Goose

Our 2023 PEN/Faulkner Award Winner and Finalists

The Book of Goose

The Book of Goose

2023 PEN/Faulkner Award WinnerYiyun Li is the author of several works of fiction—Must I Go, Where Reasons End, Kinder Than Solitude, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, The Vagrants, and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl—and the memoir Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in...

If I Survive You

If I Survive You

2023 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction FinalistJonathan Escoffery is the recipient of the 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction, a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, and the 2020 ASME Award for Fiction. His fiction has appeared in The Paris Review,...

Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm

Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm

2023 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction FinalistLaura Warrell is a contributor to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, and is a graduate of the creative writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has appeared in HuffPost,...

The Islands

The Islands

2023 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction FinalistDionne Irving is originally from Toronto, Ontario. She is the author of THE ISLANDS (Catapult) and QUINT (7.13 Books)  She currently teaches in the Creative Writing Program and the Initiative on Race and Resilience at the...

Fruiting Bodies

Fruiting Bodies

2023 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction FinalistKathryn Harlan received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she now teaches writing. She was the recipient of the 2019 August Derleth Graduate Creative Writing Prize. Her work has appeared in the...


Terry Gross

Terry Gross is the host and co-executive producer of Fresh Air, the daily program of interviews and reviews. It is produced at WHYY in Philadelphia, where Gross began hosting the show in 1975, when it was broadcast locally. Her interviews with leading writers, actors, directors, musicians, comics, journalists, scholars, and others now reach 4.9 million people weekly, on 659 NPR stations across the U.S. and Europe. Fresh Air was the most downloaded podcast on Apple Podcasts in 2015, 2016, and 2017.


Ron Charles

Ron Charles writes about books and publishing for The Washington Post. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest. Before moving to the District, he edited the books section of the Christian Science Monitor in Boston. His wife is an English teacher and the cinematographer of their satirical series, “The Totally Hip Video Book Review.” His awards include the Louis Shores Award for reviewing from the American Library Association, the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle, and First Place for Arts & Entertainment Commentary from the Society for Features Journalism in 2011. He was one of three jurors for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.  

Headshot of Ron Charles, a White man wearing glasses and a light collared top

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