…[T]he prize awarded this week that’s really worth paying attention to is the PEN Pinter Prize, given annually to both a British writer and an “international writer of courage.”
This year’s recipients are Tom Stoppard and the Belarusian journalist Irina Khalip, who writes for Novaya Gazeta and has consistently covered election fraud, human rights abuses, and the activities of the Belarusian security services, the KGB (not that KGB, but the successor to the same).
Khalip received the PEN Pinter award…on a significant date: October 7, the anniversary of the murder of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, author of Is Journalism Worth Dying For? and, like Khalip, a reporter for Novaya Gazeta. Khalip paid a low-key but moving tribute to her in her acceptance speech, saying: “I have to start my short speech with the name of Anna Politkovskaya… Seven years ago this day she was killed. She was a courageous journalist, a person who cared and my colleague.”
2013 SHORTLISTS AND JUDGES
PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2012—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.
Judges: Tom Drury, Danielle Evans, and Donald Ray Pollock
A Land More Kind Than Home (William Morrow), Wiley Cash
A Naked Singularity (University of Chicago Press), Sergio de la Pava
My Only Wife (Dzanc Books), Jac Jemc
Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain (W.W. Norton & Co.), Lucia Perillo
Battleborn (Riverhead Books), Claire Vaye Watkins
PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): To an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues which has been published in the United States during 2011 or 2012.
Judges: Eliza Griswold, Maya Jasanoff, and Edward Mendelson
Iron Curtain (Doubleday), Anne Applebaum
Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Random House), Katherine Boo
Moby-Duck (Penguin Books), Donovan Hohn
God’s Hotel (Riverhead Books), Victoria Sweet
PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000): For a book of essays published in 2012 that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.
Judges: Sven Birkerts, Robert Gottlieb, and Mark Kramer
What Light Can Do (Ecco), Robert Hass
The Story of America (Princeton University Press), Jill Lepore
Waiting for the Barbarians (New York Review Books), Daniel Mendelsohn
PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): For a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical or biological sciences published in 2012.
Judges: Deborah Blum, Katherine Bouton, and Jerome Groopman
The Forest Unseen (Viking), David George Haskell
The Violinist’s Thumb (Little, Brown and Company), Sam Kean
Subliminal (Vintage Books), Leonard Mlodinow
Spillover (W.W. Norton & Co.), David Quammen
Rabid (Viking), Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy
PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): For an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2012.
Judges: Cyrus Cassells, Porochista Khakpour, and Tiphanie Yanique
Gun Dealers’ Daughter (W.W. Norton & Co.), Gina Apostol
When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press), Natalie Diaz
Allegiance (Wayne State University Press), Francine J. Harris
Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press), Brenda Shaughnessy
The Grey Album (Graywolf Press), Kevin Young
PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): For a distinguished biography published in 2012.
Judges: Debby Applegate, Peter Orner, and Charles Shields
James Joyce (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Gordon Bowker
All We Know (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Lisa Cohen
A Difficult Woman (Bloomsbury), Alice Kessler-Harris
The Lives of Margaret Fuller (W.W. Norton & Co.), John Matteson
The Black Count (Broadway Books), Tom Reiss
PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): To honor a nonfiction book on the subject of sports published in 2012.
Judges: Jane Leavy, William Leitch, and Ben McGrath
Over Time (Grove Press), Frank Deford
Road to Valor (Broadway Books), Aili and Andres McConnon
Like Any Normal Day (St. Martin’s Press), Mark Kram, Jr.
Floyd Patterson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), W.K. Stratton
PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ($5,000): To a writer for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2012.
Judges: Barbara Shook Hazen, David Wiesner, and Cheryl Willis Hudson
Snakes (Scholastic), Nic Bishop
Oh, No! (Schwartz & Wade Books), Candace Fleming and illustrator Andrea Castellani
I Lay My Stitches Down (Eerdmans), Cynthia Grady and illustrator Michele Wood
Those Rebels, John & Tom (Scholastic), Barbara Kerley and illustrator Edwin Fotheringham
The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau (Eerdmans), Michelle Markel and illustrator Amanda Hall
PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): For a book-length translation of poetry into English published in 2012.
Judge: Don Mee Choi
Spit Temple by Cecilia Vicuña (Ugly Duckling Presse), Rosa Alcalá
Diadem by Marosa di Giorgio (BOA Editions), Adam Giannelli
Tales of a Severed Head by Rachida Madani (Yale University Press), Marilyn Hacker
The Smoke of Distant Fires by Eduardo Chirinos (Open Letter Books), G. J. Racz
Almost 1 Book/Almost 1 Life by Elfriede Czurda (Burning Deck), Rosmarie Waldrop
The Shock of the Lenders and Other Poems by Jorge Santiago Perednik (Action Books), Molly Weigel
PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): For a book-length translation of prose into English published in 2012.
Judge: Margaret Carson, Bill Johnston, and Alex Zucker
A Long Day’s Evening by Bilge Karasu (City Lights Books), Aron Aji and Fred Stark
Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector (New Directions), Alison Entrekin
Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Rosalind Harvey
The Cardboard House by Martín Adán (New Directions), Katherine Silver
The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis Thelen (Overlook Press), Donald O. White
PEN Declaration on Digital Freedom
PEN International promotes literature and freedom of expression and is governed by the PEN Charter and the principles it embodies—unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations.
PEN recognizes the promise of digital media as a means of fulfilling the fundamental right of free expression. At the same time, poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists, writers, bloggers, and journalists are suffering violations of their right to freedom of expression for using digital media. Citizens in many countries have faced severe restrictions in their access to and use of digital media, while governments have exploited digital technologies to suppress freedom of expression and to surveil individuals. The private sector and technology companies in particular have at times facilitated government censorship and surveillance. PEN therefore declares the following:
1. All persons have the right to express themselves freely through digital media without fear of reprisal or persecution.
a. Individuals who use digital media enjoy full freedom of expression protections under international laws and standards.
b. Governments must not prosecute individuals or exact reprisals upon individuals who convey information, opinions, or ideas through digital media.
c. Governments must actively protect freedom of expression on digital media by enacting and enforcing effective laws and standards.
2. All persons have the right to seek and receive information through digital media.
a. Governments should not censor, restrict, or control the content of digital media, including content from domestic and international sources.
b. In exceptional circumstances, any limitations on the content of digital media must adhere to international laws and standards that govern the limits of freedom of expression, such as incitement to violence.
c. Governments should not block access to or restrict the use of digital media, even during periods of unrest or crisis. Controlling access to digital media, especially on a broad scale, inherently violates the right to freedom of expression.
d. Governments should foster and promote full access to digital media for all persons.
3. All persons have the right to be free from government surveillance of digital media.
a. Surveillance, whether or not known by the specific intended target, chills speech by establishing the potential for persecution and the fear of reprisals. When known, surveillance fosters a climate of self-censorship that further harms free expression.
b. As a general rule, governments should not seek to access digital communications between or among private individuals, nor should they monitor individual use of digital media, track the movements of individuals through digital media, alter the expression of individuals, or generally surveil individuals.
c. When governments do conduct surveillance—in exceptional circumstances and in connection with legitimate law enforcement or national security investigations—any surveillance of individuals and monitoring of communications via digital media must meet international due process laws and standards that apply to lawful searches, such as obtaining a warrant by a court order.
d. Full freedom of expression entails a right to privacy; all existing international laws and standards of privacy apply to digital media, and new laws and standards and protections may be required.
e. Government gathering and retention of data and other information generated by digital media, including data mining, should meet international laws and standards of privacy, such as requirements that the data retention be time-limited, proportionate, and provide effective notice to persons affected.
4. The private sector, and technology companies in particular, are bound by the right to freedom of expression and human rights.
a. The principles stated in this declaration equally apply to the private sector.
b. Companies must respect human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, and must uphold these rights even when national laws and regulations do not protect them.
c. Technology companies have a duty to determine how their products, services, and policies impact human rights in the countries in which they intend to operate. If violations are likely, or violations may be inextricably linked to the use of products or services, the companies should modify or withdraw their proposed plans in order to respect human rights.
d. Technology companies should incorporate freedom of expression principles into core operations, such as product designs with built-in privacy protections.
e. If their operations are found to have violated the right to freedom of expression, technology companies should provide restitution to those whose rights were violated, even when governments do not provide remedies.
Adopted by the PEN International Congress
Gyeongju, South Korea
“Open City” by Teju Cole has won the 2012 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction.
“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 PEN award judge Andre Dubus III, quoted in a press release.
The award finalists are Amy Waldman for “The Submission” and Stephanie Powell Watts for “We Are Taking Only What We Need” (BkMk Press). BkMk Press is based in Kansas City at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Two writers will receive honorable mention: Marjorie Hudson for “Accidental Birds of the Carolinas” and Chad Harbach for “The Art of Fielding.”
Roberto Saviano has won the PEN/Pinter International Writer of Courage Award for his exposés on the Naples mafia.
He has been living under 24-hour police protection since the book was published in 2006