PEN New England and the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum Announce The Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award Winner Gabriel Brownstein for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W & The L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award Winner Adam Haslett for You Are Not A Stranger Here.
The Awards Presentation will be held at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston on Sunday, April 13 at 3:00 p.m. The Keynote Address will be delivered by former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. A reception follows the presentations.
The Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, America’s best-known prize for a distinguished first book of fiction, has been won by Gabriel Brownstein for his brilliantly inventive first collection, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W, published by W. W. Norton & Company. Author Tama Janowitz says Brownstein "is a fresh and jaunty voice, with a jazz snap all his own."
In winning the award, Gabriel Brownstein joins an esteemed list of novelists, including Justin Cronin for his warm and powerful collection of stories, Mary and O’Neil, Akhil Sharma for his remarkable and bold novel, An Obedient Father, Jhumpa Lahiri for her short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, Marilynne Robinson for Housekeeping, Susan Power for The Grass Dancer, Louis Begley for Wartime Lies, and Chang-rae Lee for Native Speaker. The $7,500 annual award was founded in 1976 by late PEN member Mary Hemingway to honor the memory of Ernest Hemingway and to draw attention to first books of fiction. The award is funded by the Hemingway Foundation/Society headed by Linda Wagner-Martin. Mary Hemingway has also deposited Ernest Hemingway’s papers at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. The judges for the award were Percival Everett, Maureen Howard, and Jim Shepard. Patrick Hemingway, the son of Ernest Hemingway, will present the award.
The L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award, honoring a book about New England or by a New England author, has been won by Adam Haslett for You Are Not A Stranger Here, published by Nan A. Talese, a division of Random House. Jonathan Franzen describes Haslett as "...an old-fashioned young storyteller with something urgent and fresh and fiercely intelligent to say." The judges of the $3000 award are authors and PEN New England members Jennifer Barber, Douglas Bauer, Suzanne Berne, David Mehegan, and George Packer. The L.L. Winship Award, which honors long-time Boston Globe editor Laurence L. Winship, is a joint endeavor of PEN New England and the Globe.
Gabriel Brownstein lives in Brooklyn, New York. His short stories have appeared in Zoetrope: All Story and the Literary Review. His debut collection, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W consists of re-imaginings of classic works transpiring in the same apartment complex, capturing the eccentricities and hidden frailties of extraordinary people.
Adam Haslett is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has won a number of literary awards and grants. His work has been published in Zoetrope: All Story, The Yale Review, and BOMB. You Are Not A Stranger Here is Haslett's debut short story collection. His work contains nine richly varied stories that draws the reader past the surface of characters' lives into the moments of decision and recognition that shape them irrevocably. Haslett is currently a student at Yale Law School.
The Finalists for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award are Christie Hodgen for A Jeweler’s Eye for Flaw, a striking debut story collection of imagination and dexterity published by University of Massachusetts Press, and Gabe Hudson for Dear Mr. President, an acutely inventive collection of seven short stories and a novella, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Frederick Barthelme describes A Jeweler's Eye for Flaw as "...a wry, funny, touching, resonant work of fiction, a bright new voice in the culture, a striking addition to our current literature...a marvelous story collection." Kirkus Reviews writes that Hudson's work is "an important contribution to war literature...his tales deliver their sad humanity in the mode of absurdity, and deep beneath the wordplay and high-jinks are plenty of smart satire and not a few tears."
Along with these two finalists and the winner, two runners-up receive Ucross Residency Fellowships at the Ucross Foundation, a retreat for artists and writers located on a 22,000-acre ranch on the high plains in Ucross, Wyoming. The runners-up are Jonathan Tel for Arafat’s Elephant (Basic Books) and Julia Whitty for A Tortoise for the Queen of Tonga (Houghton Mifflin Company).
The Finalists for the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award include: Sven Birkerts for My Sky Blue Trades (Penguin Putnam Press); Robert Harms for The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade (Basic Books); Lucy Honig for Open Season (Scala House Press); Atul Gawande for Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science (Henry Holt & Company); and Don Share for Union (Zoo Press).
Presentation of the awards is sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, PEN New England, the Friends of the Hemingway Collection, The Boston Globe, the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/Society, and the Ucross Foundation.
PEN New England is one of the regional branches of the PEN American Center, which is in turn part of International PEN, the only worldwide organization of writers. PEN New England provides a focal point for the New England literary community, sponsors free, public literary events, and helps advance the cause of literature and reading in the New England region and defends free expression everywhere.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis described Mary Hemingway’s gift of Ernest Hemingway’s papers to the Kennedy Library as helping "to fulfill our hopes that the Library will become a center for the study of American civilization, in all its aspects, in these years." Mrs. Onassis also brought the presentation of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award to the Library from New York. The Hemingway Foundation/Society, PEN New England, The Boston Globe, and the Library work together to ensure that the judging and presentation remain in New England.
The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is a Presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and is supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The Kennedy Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history and culture, and the process of governing and the importance of public service.
For further information about the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award or the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award, contact PEN New England at 617-499-9550. For further information on the Award Ceremony and reservations, contact 617-514-1643.