Friday Fives | Books to add to my TBR from the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards

Posted April 2, 2021 by TheNonbinaryLibrarian in friday fives / 0 Comments

I started Friday Fives back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out. If anyone wants to join me, the list for future topics can be found here.

Created in 1963, the PEN America Literary Awards have honored outstanding voices in literature across diverse genres, including fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, and drama.

A heartbreaking story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. This was nominated for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, which is for a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact.


Testimony (excerpt) for Tamir Rice, 2002-2014

Mr. President,…

Mom said you made being black beautiful again
but that was before someone killed Trayvon.
After that came a sadness so big it made everyone
look the same. It was a long time before we could
go outside again. Mr. President it took one whole day
for me to die and even though I’m twelve and not afraid of the dark
I didn’t know there could be so much of it
or so many other boys here.

This was nominated for the PEN Open Book Award, which is a book-length work of any literary genre by an author of color.


This strange cover may bring you in like it did me. However, the story will make you want to stay. A groundbreaking debut novel that folds the legends of Hawaiian gods into an engrossing family saga.

This was nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award, which is for a debut novel of exceptional literary merit by an American author.


A thriller featuring three teenage girls: Kim, Bella, and Momo. And in this tale, the body is a battlefield, and masculinity is a drug. This was nominated for the PEN Translation Prize, which is for well, a book-length translation of prose from any language into English (pretty obvious).


Translated from Swedish

The library I work at recently acquired this book, and I definitely was planning on checking it out. As someone else who believes in re-reading books, this is the kind of book that is definitely up my alley.

This was nominated for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award, which is for a seasoned writer whose collection of essays is an expansion on their body of work.


If you want to know more about this award, click here. If you want to see the full shortlist of these awards, click here. All of these books are shortlisted for their award category (Sharks in the Time of Saviors is nominated in 2 categories). The winners will be announced April 8, 2021.

Happy Reading Darlings!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Leave a Reply