Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award

The Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award is awarded annually to a novel or book of short stories by an American author who has not previously published a book of fiction. The award is named after Ernest Hemingway and funded by the Ernest Hemingway Foundation, which has been administered by the Hemingway Society since 1987, and PEN New England. Mary Hemingway, a member of PEN, founded the award in 1976… (more)


2013 selection

The Yellow Birds: A Novel

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2013, Guardian First Book Award 2012

by Kevin Powers

A novel written by a veteran of the war in Iraq, The Yellow Birds is the harrowing story of two young soldiers trying to stay alive.

"The war tried to kill us in the spring." So begins this powerful account of...

2012 selection

Open City: A Novel

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2012

by Teju Cole

A New York Times Notable Book • One of the ten top novels of the year —Time and NPR



2010 selection

A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2010

by Brigid Pasulka

Whimsical, wise, beautiful, magical, and sometimes even heartbreaking, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True weaves together two remarkable stories, reimagining half a century of Polish history through...

2009 selection

A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living: A Novel

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2009

by Michael Dahlie

“A tour filled with moments of grace and angst, and an overwhelming sense that compassion matters.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune Arthur Camden’s greatest talents are for packing and unpacking suitcases,...

2007 selection

Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2007

by Ben Fountain

The well-intentioned protagonists of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara are caught -- to both disastrous and hilarious effect -- in the maelstrom of political and social upheaval surrounding them. In "Near-Extinct...

2006 selection

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Stories

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2006, Guardian First Book Award 2006, Frank O'Connor Short Story Award 2005

by Yiyun Li

Brilliant and original, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers introduces a remarkable new writer whose breathtaking stories are set in China and among Chinese Americans in the United States. In this rich, astonishing...

2005 selection


Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2005

by Chris Abani

Graceland is a dazzling debut by a singular new talent

The sprawling, swampy, cacophonous city of Lagos, Nigeria, provides the backdrop to the story of Elvis, a teenage Elvis impersonator hoping to make his way...

2004 selection

Mrs. Kimble

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2004

by Jennifer Haigh

“Beautiful, devastating and complex.” —Chicago Tribune

The award-winning debut novel from Jennifer Haigh, author of BakerTowers, The Condition, and Faith, tells the story of Birdie, Joan,and Dinah, three...

2002 selection

Mary and O'Neil

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2002

by Justin Cronin

Mary and O’Neil frequently marveled at how, of all the lives they might have led, they had somehow found this one together. When they met at the Philadelphia high school where they’d come to teach, each...

2001 selection

An Obedient Father

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2001

by Akhil Sharma

Corrosive, funny, and frightening--one of the year's most absorbing first novels

"My general incompetence and laziness at work had been apparent for so long that I now think it was arrogant of Mr. Gupta to pick...

2000 selection

Interpreter of Maladies

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2000, Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 2000

by Jhumpa Lahiri

Navigating between the Indian traditions they've inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri's elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. In...

1997 selection

Ocean of Words: Stories

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 1997

by Ha Jin

Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award

The place is the chilly border between Russia and China. The time is the early 1970s when the two giants were poised on the brink of war. And the characters in this thrilling...

1993 selection

Lost in the City

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 1993

by Edward P. Jones

“Original and arresting….[Jones’s] stories will touch chords of empathy and recognition in all readers.”

Washington Post

 “These 14 stories of African-American life…affirm humanity as only good...

1992 selection

Wartime Lies: A Novel

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 1992

by Louis Begley

"Extraordinary...Rich in irony and regret...[the] people and settings are vividly realized and his prose [is] compelling in its simplicity."


As the world slips into the throes of war...

1983 selection

Shiloh and Other Stories

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 1983

by Bobbie Ann Mason

"These stories will last," said Raymond Carver of Shiloh and Other Stories when it was first published, and almost two decades later this stunning fiction debut and winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award has become...

1982 selection


Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 1982

by Marilynne Robinson

Winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award

A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two...

1981 selection

Household Words: A Novel

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award 1981

by Joan Silber

Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award: "Unqualified praise goes to this rarity: an extraordinary novel about ordinary people."--Chicago Tribune The year is 1940, and Rhoda Taber is pregnant with her first child....