PEN/Open Book

PEN/Open Book (known as the Beyond Margins Award through 2009) is a program intended to foster racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities, and works to establish access for diverse literary groups to the publishing industry.[1] Created in 1991 by the PEN American Center (today PEN America), the PEN/Open Book program ensures custodians of language and literature are representative of the American people.

The Committee discusses mutual concerns and strategies for advancing writing and professional activities, and coordinates Open Book events. While multiple awards were presented in previous years, the PEN Open Book Award now presents one award every year to books published in the United States (but without citizenship or residency requirements) by "authors of color who have not received wide media coverage".

The award is one of many PEN awards sponsored by International PEN affiliates in over 145 PEN centers around the world. The PEN American Center awards have been characterized as being among the "major" American literary prizes. [2]


PEN/Open Book AwardEdit

After 2010, the Beyond Margins Award was renamed the PEN/Open Book Award.

PEN/Open Book Award winners and finalists
Year Author Title Result Ref.
2011 Manu Joseph Serious Men Winner [3]
John Murillo Up Jump the Boogie Runner Up
2012 Siddhartha Deb The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India Winner [4]
Helon Habila Oil on Water Finalist
Quan Barry Water Puppets
2013 Gina Apostol Gun Dealers' Daughter Winner (tie) [5][6]
Kevin Young The Grey Album
Francine J. Harris Allegiance Finalist [6]
Brenda Shaughnessy Our Andromeda
Natalie Diaz When My Brother Was an Aztec
2014 Nina McConigley Cowboys and East Indians Winner (tie) [7][8]
Ruth Ellen Kocher domina Un/blued
Kwame Dawes Duppy Conqueror Finalist [8]
Taiye Selasi Ghana Must Go
Jennifer Foerster Leaving Tulsa
2015 Claudia Rankine Citizen: An American Lyric Winner [9]
Rabih Alameddine An Unnecessary Woman Finalist [10][11]
Roxane Gay An Untamed State
Teju Cole Every Day Is for the Thief
Samrat Upadhyay The City Son
2016 Rick Barot Chord Winner [12]
Reginald Dwayne Betts Bastards of the Reagan Era Finalist
Vievee Francis Forest Primeval: Poems
Lauret Savoy Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape
Marie Mutsuki Mockett Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey
2017 Helen Oyeyemi What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Winner [13]
Monica Youn Blackacre Finalist [14]
Solmaz Sharif Look
Jamaal May The Big Book of Exit Strategies
Petina Gappah The Book of Memory
2018 Alexis Okeowo A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa Winner [15][16]
Kei Miller Augustown Finalist [17]
Erika L. Sánchez Lessons on Expulsion: Poems
Jessica B. Harris My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir
Nicole Sealey Ordinary Beast: Poems
2019 Nafissa Thompson-Spires Heads of the Colored People Winner [18]
Shauna Barbosa Cape Verdean Blues Finalist [19]
Jenny Xie Eye Level
Tyrese Coleman How to Sit: A Memoir in Stories and Essays
Ángel García Teeth Never Sleep
2020 Brandon Shimoda The Grave on the Wall Winner [20]
Camonghne Felix Build Yourself a Boat Finalist [21][22]
Carmen Giménez Smith Be Recorder
Maya Phillips Erou
Maurice Carlos Ruffin We Cast a Shadow
2021 Asako Serizawa Inheritors Winner [23]
Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge A Treatise on Stars Finalist [24]
Souvankham Thammavongsa How to Pronounce Knife: Stories
Hafizah Geter Un-American
S*an D. Henry-Smith Wild Peach
2022 Divya Victor Curb Winner [25]
Rebecca Hall Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts Finalists
Rajiv Mohabir Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir
Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint Names for Light: A Family History
Elissa Washuta White Magic

Beyond Margins AwardEdit

Prior to 2010, the PEN Open Book Award was referred to as the Beyond Margins Award, and several books were selected per year as joint winners.

Beyond Margins Award winners
Year Author Title
Earlier winners Giannina Braschi Yo-Yo Boing!
Timothy Liu Say Goodnight
Bino Realuyo (ed.) The NuyorAsian Anthology
April Robinson
2002 Meena Alexander Illiterate Heart
Luis Francia Eye of the Fish
Joy Harjo A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales
Victor LaValle Slapboxing with Jesus: Stories
Nelly Rosario Song of the Water Saints
2004 Laila Halaby West of the Jordan: A Novel
Suki Kim The Interpreter
Nasdijj The Boy and the Dog Are Sleeping
Willie Perdomo Smoking Lovely
April Reynolds Knee-Deep in Wonder: A Novel
2005 Faith Adiele Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun
Raquel Cepeda (ed.) And It Don’t Stop: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years
Lan Samantha Chang Inheritance
Lolita Hernandez Autopsy of an Engine, and Other Stories from the Cadillac Plant
Ishle Yi Park The Temperature of This Water
2006 Richard Blanco Directions to the Beach of the Dead
Andrew Lam Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora
Ed Bok Lee Real Karaoke People
Caryl Phillips Dancing in the Dark
Jennifer Tseng The Man With My Face
2007 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Half of a Yellow Sun
Ernest Hardy Blood Beats, Vol. 1
Harryette Mullen Recyclopedia
Alberto Ríos Theater of Night
2008 Chris Abani Song for Night
Amiri Baraka Tales of the Out and the Gone
Frances Hwang Transparency
Naeem Murr The Perfect Man
Joseph M. Marshall III The Day the World Ended at Little Big Horn
2009 Uwem Akpan Say You're One of Them
Juan Felipe Herrera Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems
Lily Hoang Changing
2010 Sherwin Bitsui Flood Song
Robin D. G. Kelley Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
Canyon Sam Sky Train: Tibetan Women on the Edge of History


  1. ^ "PEN Beyond Margins". National Book Critics Circle. November 19, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  2. ^ Alfred Bendixen (2005). "Literary Prizes and Awards". The Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 689.
  3. ^ "2011 PEN Open Book Award". November 16, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  4. ^ "2012 PEN Open Book Award". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  5. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (August 14, 2013). "Jacket Copy: PEN announces winners of its 2013 awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "2013 PEN Open Book Award". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  7. ^ Ron Charles (July 30, 2014). "Winners of the 2014 PEN Literary Awards". Washington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "2014 PEN Open Book Award". Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  9. ^ "2015 PEN Literary Award Winners". PEN. May 8, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  10. ^ "2015 PEN Literary Award Winners Make Great Recommendations". the American Booksellers Association. 2015-05-14. Retrieved 2022-01-30.
  11. ^ "2015 PEN Literary Awards Shortlist". PEN America. 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2022-01-30.
  12. ^ "2016 PEN Open Book Award". PEN. April 13, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  13. ^ "2017 PEN Open Book Award". PEN. February 22, 2017. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  14. ^ "2017 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists". PEN America. 2017-01-18. Retrieved 2022-01-30.
  15. ^ John Maher (February 21, 2018). "Long Soldier, Zhang, Le Guin Win At 2018 PEN Literary Awards". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "The 2018 PEN America Literary Awards Winners". PEN America. February 20, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  17. ^ Porter Anderson (January 31, 2018). "Industry Notes: PEN America's Finalists". Publishing Perspectives. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  18. ^ "PEN America Literary Awards 2019 winners announced". Books+Publishing. February 28, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  19. ^ "Announcing the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists". PEN America. January 15, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  20. ^ "The 2020 PEN America Literary Awards Winners". PEN America. Retrieved 2022-01-30.
  21. ^ "Announcing the 2020 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists". PEN America. 2020-01-28. Retrieved 2022-01-30.
  22. ^ Temple, Emily (2020-01-28). "Here are your 2020 PEN America literary awards finalists". Literary Hub. Retrieved 2022-01-30.
  23. ^ "Announcing the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards Winners". PEN America. 2021-04-08. Retrieved 2022-01-30.
  24. ^ "Announcing the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists". PEN America. February 10, 2021. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  25. ^ Smith, Eliza (March 1, 2022). "Here are the winners of the 2022 PEN America Literary Awards". Literary Hub. Retrieved March 4, 2022.

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