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