The largest juried fiction award in the United States. The PEN/Faulkner award was established in 1980 and is managed by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, which is located at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.

It was (obviously) named after the great Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner, though he personally didn't have a thing to do with it. You might have heard of him. If not, take a whiff of Yoknapatawpha County. You won't be disappointed, trust me.

The criteria for submission is quite simple:

  • The writer must be a United States citizen.

  • The book must be published the calendar year immediately preceding the year of the award ceremony. For example, Don Delillo's Mao II was published in 1991, and won the 1992 PEN/Faulkner.

  • Entries may not be self-published or e-books.

  • Entries may be submitted by anyone (editors, publishers, agents or authors) by October 31st of the year of publication.

*Please note that the criteria has nothing to do with William Faulkner's style. It's just named after him. The best book, regardless of personal style, wins.

Each year a winner and four finalists are chosen by three judges, each of them a published writer (hence it's a "juried award") selected by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation Board of Directors. The winner is awarded $15,000 and the finalists each receive $5,000.

They also get to put a shiny gold stamp on the book's cover saying, PEN/Faulkner Award Winner.

The award winners, by year, are:

1981 - Walter Abish - How German is it?

1982 - David Bradly - The Chaneysville Incident

1983 - Toby Olson - Seaview

1984 - John Edgar Wideman - Sent for You Yesterday

1985 - Tobias Wolfe - The Barracks Thief

1986 - Peter Taylor - The Old Forest

1987 - Richard Wiley - Soldiers in Hiding

1988 - T. Coraghessan Boyle - World's End

1989 - James Salter - Dusk

1990 - E.L. Doctorow - Billy Bathgate

1991 - John Edgar Wideman - Philadelphia Fire

1992 - Don Delillo - Mao II

1993 - E. Annie Proulx - Postcards

1994 - Philip Roth - Operation Shylock

1995 - David Gutterson - Snow Falling on Cedars

1996 - Richard Ford - Independence Day

1997 - Gina Berriault - Women in Their Beds

1998 - Rafi Zabor - The Bear Comes Home

1999 - Michael Cunningham- The Hours

2000 - Ha Jin - Waiting

2001 - Philip Roth - The Human Stain

2002 - Ann Patchett - Bel Canto

For more information, visit the PEN/Faulkner website at

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