PEN America has announced the 2018 crop of books that made its longlist, which is welcome news in the face of the Trump Administration publicly mulling cutting funding for the National Endowment of the Arts. Programs and spaces like PEN America are vital to the preservation of literary freedom and expression, even more so with an administration that is increasingly dedicated to stamping it out.

These awards will hand the winners a combined total of 315,000 dollars in prize money, and features an impressive array of judges across multiple writing disciplines, keeping with their reputation as a diverse organization.

PEN has announced the nominees for its categories: the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, (a 25,000 dollar prize) the PEN Open Book Award, the PEN Translation Prize, the PEN Diamondstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, (a 10,000 dollar prize) the PEN Bograd Weld Prize for Biography, (a 5,000 dollar prize) the PEN E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing, (a 10,000 dollar prize) and finally the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. (a 5,000 dollar prize)

Here are the nominees* for the PEN Open Book Award, which is reserved for writers of color, and given to an outstanding work of book length.

Some Say The Lark-Jennifer Chang
Eastman Was Here– Alex Gilvarry
My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir- Jessica B. Harris
Augustown– Kei Miller
The Tower of the Antilles– Achy Obejas
A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Men and Women Fighting Extremism in Africa– Alexis Okeowo
For Want of Water: and other poems– Sasha Pimentel
Lessons on Expulsion: Poems– Erika L. Sanchez
Ordinary Beast: Poems- Nicole Sealey
Because When God Is Too Busy: Haiti, Me & THE WORLD– Gina Athena Ulysse

PEN America will announce the finalists in January 2018 and the awards ceremony will be held on Feb. 20th 2018 in New York City

*Black authors in Bold face

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