The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction honors the best published works of fiction by American permanent residents in a calendar year. Three writers are chosen annually by the Board of Directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to serve as judges, ensuring that our awards selection process is free of commercial influence. These judges select an initial longlist of ten books, followed by five finalists, and finally one winner as the “first among equals.” The Award is presented at an annual celebration of the year’s distinguished books and authors. This exquisite literary evening features introductions by the PEN/Faulkner Award judges, original presentations by the year’s PEN/Faulkner Award winner and four finalists, and a star-studded list of notable guests, including our PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion.
THE WINNER OF THE 2021 PEN/FAULKNER AWARD FOR FICTION:
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
by Deesha Philyaw
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.
Presentation of the awards will be held on May 10, 2021. There will be readings by the winner and four finalists; “an appearance by our inaugural PEN/Faulkner Literary Champion, LeVar Burton; and appearances by special guests Stephen King, Angie Thomas, Luis Alberto Urrea, Francine Prose, and Jason Reynolds.”
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