2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Virtual Celebration Sponsorship

Monday, May 10, 2021 | 8 pm ET

The 41st Annual Celebration of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction honored this year’s distinguished books and authors, along with our inaugural PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion. This exquisite literary evening featured original readings by our PEN/Faulkner Award winner and four finalists; commendations by our three judges; a presentation by LeVar Burton, including a special tribute by Mrs. Laura Bush; and guest appearances by several notable writers, including Stephen King, Angie Thomas, Luis Alberto Urrea, Francine Prose, and Jason Reynolds.


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Your support will advance our mission to celebrate literature and foster connections between readers and writers. Proceeds will provide critical resources for our initiatives, including our education programs, Literary Conversations, and awards.


LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton is an actor, director, educator, and cofounder of the award-winning Skybrary app; former host and executive producer of PBS’s Reading Rainbow, and a lifelong children’s literacy advocate. He hosts his own podcast, LeVar Burton Reads, sharing the best short fiction and handpicked by the best voice in podcasting. LeVar also has a new YouTube series, This Is My Story, which highlights racism in America. During the COVID-19 lockdown, TwitterLive hosted livestream short story readings presented by LeVar to millions of his fans and avid readers. LeVar starred as Kunta Kinte in the acclaimed mini-series Roots. LeVar also starred as Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and in feature films. 

Learn more about LeVar.

Terry Gross

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,...


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.  

Ron Charles


LeVar Burton, Literary Champion
Deesha Philyaw, Winner
Matthew Salesses, Finalist
Rufi Thorpe, Finalist
Robin Wasserman, Finalist
Steve Wiegenstein, Finalist


Charles Finch, 2021 Judge
Bernice L. McFadden, 2021 Judge
Alexi Zentner, 2021 Judge
Stephen King
Francine Prose
Angie Thomas
Luis Alberto Urrea
Jason Reynolds


The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation

Literary Lions
The Honorable Ann Brown
Mary & Robert Haft
Malcolm & Virginia O’Hagan
Katherine Field Stephen & Andrew Stephen

Lisa Barry & James Gale
Katherine & David Bradley
Wm. Randall Cone
Cathie & John Estey
Elizabeth & Michael Galvin
The Garcia Family Spotlight Foundation
Renée K. & Stephen Gardner


Muses, cont’d
Kay Kendall & Jack Davies
Willee & Finlay Lewis
Politics & Prose
Doug & Gabriela Smith

Marie Arana
Susan Coll & Paul Goldberg
Judy Scott Feldman
Patricia V. Fettmann & Jonathan Ginsburg
Kate & Robert Giaimo/Silver Diner & SILVER
Patricia Griffith
Hachette Book Group
Little A
Sophia McCrocklin & William Isaacson
Tracy & Greg McGillivary
Old Town Books
Maureen Orth
Jane Evans Ramsay
Simon & Schuster
West Virginia University

2019 Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

“Winning the PEN/Faulkner Award at such a delicate and trying juncture in our nation’s troubled history is an honor I am infinitely grateful to carry.”
– Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Author of Call Me Zebra

2020 Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

“I feel deeply honored, grateful, and overwhelmed to receive this news.”

– Chloe Arijdis, Author of Sea Monsters

Our 2021 Winner & Finalists

The Wrong End of the Telescope

The Wrong End of the Telescope

Finalist for the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for FictionRabih Alameddine is the author of the novels An Unnecessary Woman; I, the Divine; Koolaid; The Hakawati; and the story collection The Perv. In 2019, he won the Dos Passos Prize. Purchase The Wrong End of the...

Radiant Fugitives

Radiant Fugitives

Finalist for the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for FictionNawaaz Ahmed was born in Tamil Nadu, India. Before turning to writing, he was a computer scientist, researching search algorithms for Yahoo. He holds an MFA from University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and is the winner of...

The President and the Frog

The President and the Frog

Finalist for the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for FictionCarolina de Robertis is the author of five novels, including Cantoras, winner of both a Stonewall Book Award and a Reading Women Award, and a finalist for both the Kirkus Prize and a Lambda Literary Award; it was...

Dear Miss Metropolitan

Dear Miss Metropolitan

Finalist for the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for FictionCarolyn Ferrell is the author of the short-story collection Don’t Erase Me, which received the Art Seidenbaum Award of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize program, the John C. Zacharis Award given by Ploughshares, and...

How Beautiful We Were

How Beautiful We Were

Finalist for the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for FictionImbolo Mbue is the author of the New York Times bestseller Behold the Dreamers, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. The novel has been translated into eleven...

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