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.


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

What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

Longlisted for the 2024 PEN/Faulkner Award for FictionClaire Jiménez is a Puerto Rican writer who grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York. She is the author of the short story collection Staten Island Stories (Johns Hopkins Press, 2019) and What Happened to...



Longlisted for the 2024 PEN/Faulkner Award for FictionJamel Brinkley is the author of A Lucky Man, which won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the John Leonard Prize, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award....

Open Throat

Open Throat

Longlisted for the 2024 PEN/Faulkner Award for FictionHenry Hoke is an editor at The Offing and a writer whose work has appeared in No Tokens, Triangle House, Electric Literature, and the flash noir anthology Tiny Crimes. He co-created the performance series...



Longlisted for the 2024 PEN/Faulkner Award for FictionAlice McDermott is the author of nine novels, all published by FSG, including Charming Billy, winner of the National Book Award, and That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This, which were finalists for the...



Longlisted for the 2024 PEN/Faulkner Award for FictionCOLIN WINNETTE’s books include Coyote, Haints Stay, and The Job of the Wasp, which was an American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next Pick. Winnette’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including...

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