2012 Hemingway Foundation PEN Award Winner Announced

For Immediate Release: March 6, 2012 
Media Contact: Rachel Flor (617) 514-1662, rachel.flor@jfklfoundation.org  
Ceremony Information: Amy Macdonald (617) 514-1645, amy.macdonald@nara.gov

BOSTON, MA – PEN New England today announced that Teju Cole has won the 2012 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction for Open City (Random House). Patrick Hemingway, the son of Nobel Prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway, will present the prestigious literary award to Mr. Cole on Sunday, April 1, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. 

"Written in a deceptively quiet voice, Teju Cole's remarkable and penetrating debut novel achieves what Kafka said art should; it chops the frozen sea within us," said novelist and Hemingway Foundation/PEN award judge Andre Dubus III. 

The two Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award finalists are Amy Waldman for The Submission (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) and Stephanie Powell Watts for We Are Taking Only What We Need (BkMk Press). Two writers will receive honorable mention: Marjorie Hudson for Accidental Birds of the Carolinas (Press 53) and Chad Harbach for The Art of Fielding (Little, Brown). 

In additional to Andre Dubus III, judges for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award this year were acclaimed writers Sigrid Nunez and Edith Pearlman. 

Teju Cole will receive a $10,000 prize from the Hemingway Foundation and PEN New England, as well as a residency in The Distinguished Visiting Writers Series at the University of Idaho’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. Mr. Cole and competition finalists and honorable mentions receive Ucross Residency Fellowships at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, a retreat for artists and writers. For more information about this year’s winner, visit www.tejucole.com. 

The late Mary Hemingway, the wife of Ernest Hemingway, founded the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 1976 to honor her late husband and draw attention to first books of fiction. Past recipients of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award include Edward P. Jones, Marilynne Robinson, Ha Jin, and Jhumpa Lahiri. 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis brought the presentation of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award from New York to the Kennedy Library in 1992. The Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library spans Hemingway’s entire career, and contains ninety percent of existing Hemingway manuscript materials, making the Kennedy Library the world’s principal center for research on the life and work of Ernest Hemingway. 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.” The Hemingway Foundation/Society, PEN New England, and the Kennedy Library ensure that the judging and presentation of the award remain in New England. For more information on the Hemingway Collection at the Kennedy Library, visit www.jfklibrary.org 

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, PEN New England, Cerulli Associates, the Friends of the Ernest Hemingway Collection, and the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/Society sponsor the presentation of the awards. The ceremony includes the presentation of the The Laurence L. & Thomas Winship/PEN New England Awards, celebrating best works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by New England authors. The announcement of these winners is coming soon. 

PEN New England provides a focal point for the literary community, administers literary awards, and presents programs and special events celebrating literature, reading, and the defense of free expression. It is one of three regional branches of PEN American Center, which in turn is part of International PEN, the only worldwide organization of writing professionals. For more information about PEN New England, visit www.pen-ne.org. 

The John F. Kennedy Presidential 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 ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 1 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending should call the Kennedy Presidential Library at (617) 514-1643 or register on-line at www.jfklibrary.org to reserve a seat.