Ta-Nehisi Coates wins PEN Literary Award

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is among the winners of the 2016 PEN Literary Awards. The $10,000 awards span fiction, drama, sports writing, biography, translation, poetry, and more. Winners were announced at a ceremony on Monday, April 11, 2016 at The New School in New York City.

Coates, author of Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau/Random House), was honored with the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, judged by Verlyn Klinkenborg, Meghan O’Rourke, and Luc Sante. This award celebrates a book of essays published in 2015 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature. Toni Morrison (PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction) is among the other 2016 awardees. Coates’ father, Paul Coates, accepted the award on his son’s behalf.

“The books, authors, subjects, and subjectivities that this year’s judges found most worthy of PEN Literary Awards are ones that give voice to the voiceless, put the marginalized in the mainstream, and tell stories untold,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of PEN America.

Founded in 1922, PEN America is an association of 4,400 U.S writers working to break down barriers to free expression worldwide. Its distinguished members carry on the achievements in literature and the advancement of human rights of such past members as Langston Hughes, Arthur Miller, Susan Sontag, and John Steinbeck. For the last 90 years, PEN American Center has been working to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to make it possible for everyone to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others.