PEN America has announced the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Oral History. The former, which comes with a $75,000 purse, will confer one of the biggest monetary awards in the country.
The PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, to be conferred annually, is among a handful of new honors the organization has announced in recent weeks. It will recognize "a book that has broken new ground and signals strong potential for lasting influence." The PEN/Jean Stein Grant will sponsor a grant for oral history, in addition to the larger award.
Sponsored by author and oral historian Jean Stein, the new prize will "spotlight a masterpiece of literature that reshapes the boundaries of its form and promises a lasting impact on American thought," explained PEN deputy director of communications Sarah Edkins.
The award will be the largest monetary prize PEN offers and, unlike the rest of the PEN America Literary Awards, the judging panel of writers will serve anonymously, nominating candidates internally and without submissions from the public.
The PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Oral History will award $10,000 to "support the completion of a literary work of nonfiction that uses oral history to illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement."
Both new awards will be conferred for the first time in 2017.