The PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration

Every year, we gather to celebrate our PEN/Faulkner Award winner and four finalists. Each celebration is an event to remember, a fabulous opportunity for contemporary fiction readers, writers, and enthusiasts to come together in recognition of distinguished people who make up the current literary landscape.

In 2020, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation created a new literary distinction: the PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion. This commendation is presented in recognition of devoted literary advocacy and a commitment to inspiring new generations of readers and writers. The distinction is presented annually in May as part of the PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration.

David Baldacci headshot

We look forward to hosting an exciting evening at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in downtown Washington, DC on May 2, 2024. Master of Ceremonies Ron Charles will help us showcase the work of our award winner and four finalists, and we’ll enjoy presentations from our three distinguished judges. In addition, we will honor acclaimed novelist David Baldacci, our 2024 PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion.

Our 2024 PEN/Faulkner Award 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...


On May 11, 2023, we held an exquisite literary evening at the newly renovated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. We celebrated Yiyun Li, the 2023 PEN/Faulkner Award winner, along with the finalists Jonathan Escoffery, Kathryn Harlan, Dionne Irving, and Laura Warrell. We also recognized Terry Gross as the 2023 PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion.

The evening featured guest appearances from Ron Charles and Michel Martin, a cocktail hour, and a delicious dinner with a dessert bar.


On May 2, 2022, we hosted a virtual celebration. It included presentations from by our judges; original readings by the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award winner, Rabih Alameddine, and four finalists, Nawaaz Ahmed, Carolina de Robertis, Carolyn Ferrell, and Imbolo Mbue; and an appearance by Oprah Winfrey, our 2022 PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion.

Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air, joined us as the Master of Ceremonies.


The 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration was held on May 10, 2021, and honored that year’s distinguished books and authors. Among them were Deesha Philyaw, the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award winner, and four finalists, Matthew Salesses, Rufi Thorpe, Robin Wasserman, and Steve Wiegenstein. The evening also included a presentation by our inaugural PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion, LeVar Burton.

Special guests Stephen KingFrancine ProseLuis Alberto UrreaAngie Thomas, and Jason Reynolds, among others, joined the 2021 virtual celebration.

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